Sunday, April 30, 2006

some bunny loves da bum ching.

ah...'tis the season for rooftop and park picnics.

i attended a picnic atop a roof in park slope today, complete with Paula Deen-inspired dishes like an ooey-gooey veggie cheese strata with a Wonderbread crust. i like that. a little class, a little trash...just like me.

i went to an Easter picnic a few weeks ago held in Central Park. i can't help but associate Easter with my grandmothers, Ursula and Betty. we always seemed to be spending our Easters with either one of them or both. we'd usually dye eggs (Paas, of course) the night we arrived, awake the next morning, hunt for eggs and our Easter baskets, then scarf down as much chocolate as we could before being wrapped up in pretty, uncomfortable suits 'n' ties 'n' dresses for our bi-annual trip to church. (Episcopalian. my grandparents had converted after all of their children had grown. i kinda dug the kneeling bench and incense, but it totally grossed me out that everyone drank the wine out of the same cup for communion.)

the contents of the basket didn't change much from year to year. we always got one chocolate bunny and one white chocolate bunny. there were, of course, the requisite jelly beans and egg-shaped, speckled bubble gum pebbles nestled in the green cellophane grass. we usually got one additional, inedible gift -- a stuffed animal of some sort for me. my brothers must've gotten something more masculine -- an AC/DC record for Beau, maybe? a spool of fishing line for Lance? as i got older the gifts got a little more sophisticated. earrings. first studs, then when i was an almost-teenager, dangly earrings. that was a coup. mom did not want me growing up too fast, and in her mind a pair of dangly earrings made a girl exponentially older. so, duh - of course i wanted them. i'd put them on and model in front of the bathroom mirror, tossing my head back and forth. if they jingled a little bit when i walked, even better. i not only looked older, i sounded it too.

i don't remember the last time i got an Easter basket. must've been a couple of years after mom died. i guess i was just too old or, what's probably more likely, is that i'd started "watching my weight," and 1-pound chocolate bunnies were not on the latest Seventeen magazine diet.

i know my Aunt Char got my cousin Lauren and me baskets that first Easter after mom died. i remember distinctly that she got us both Esprit t-shirts and, as is always the case with female cousins who are only one year apart and equally bratty and self-entitled, it could not possibly be an easy exchange. Lauren got the one i wanted. tears. i'm sure sweet Aunt Char thought the tears had something to do with my not having my mother around for that first Easter, but i don't know. perhaps subconsciously, they did. i think i just really wanted that t-shirt. it was pastel and Esprit, after all.

this year, i decided to buy myself a basket (or at least what i might want in a basket, who needs a container?) - malted milk eggs, jelly beans, a white chocolate bunny. i haven't had that much candy in my house ever. i would have always been waaaaay to terrified to allow that sort of sweetness into my body and (yes, i'm getting metaphorical here) life. but whatever...i'm learning to trust myself again with that sort of stuff. why? well, we weren't born terrified of food. we learned this shit. we learned to think that chocolate is bad and that spinach, grapefruit and broccoli are akin to the Holy Trinity. when i was a kid with that gargantuan basket of goodies, i didn't eat it all in one sitting. i ate off the ear, nibbled a jelly bean, then ran off and swam in the pool for 3 hours. the candy would be there when i got back -- if i wanted it. i was allowed.

so, here i am, at the ripe old age of 31, learning to allow again.

not easy. but i did it anyway. i bought all the goodies and put them in my cabinets. i stocked up. my cabinets were a diabetic coma waiting to happen.

here's a coup. i hardly ate any of it. i just threw away the entire white chocolate bunny (minus a nibbled ear), and i used the jelly beans and malted milk eggs for the I.B.S. Bunny Cake i made for the picnic (see below). sure, i nibbled a few in preparation, but it was nothing like the day a few years ago, at size 6 and in the thick of my disorder, when i ate two one-pound bags of malted milk eggs then walked around the city for hours in an effort to




what i'm learning is that when i surround myself with abundance, i feel secure, therefore i don't have to load up in fear that i will never again be allowed to taste sweetness. when i give myself complete permission to indulge in sweets, in sadness and in life, i begin to recognize my true appetite, my true hunger. not what i think i want. or what i've been told i want. or what i think i don't want b/c someone has told me i do want it. i am allowed and, dare i say, entitled to as much or as little as i want of everything. malted milk eggs. esprit t-shirts. love.

no need to gorge, my dears, there's plenty more where that came from.

the requisite Bunny Cake. recipe courtesy of Ursula Horsfall, and i'm assuming she must've gotten it out of a Ladies Home Journal circa 1945. it's rather quaint in comparison to the lifelike hare Martha might construct, but it's just right for me.

in memoriam of my past intestinal woes, i gave my bunny cake I.B.S (irritable bowel syndrome), hence the chocolate
chip droppings you see here. i now notice my bunny also had no whiskers. good thing she was frosted to the plate;
coulda been bashin' into trees and crappin' all over the place.

ya just bake one round of a cake. slice it in half so you have two moons. put a little frosting on one, then sandwich them together. set it upright so you've got the body of the bunny. frost that sucker with white homemade buttercream icing (if i've said it once, i've said it a million times before - it's all in the icing. use a cake mix, but by God, do not use jarred icing. not if you care for your friends.) slap two pink jellybeans on for eyes, a black one for a nose. ruffle up a little cotton ball for the tail, or if you find you have no cotton balls like i did, take a little vegan macaroon (b/c of course you have these hanging around your cupboards), frost it and stick it on the bunny's arse. cut out two ears from white paper, color the pink part and stick into the cake wherever you feel they look best. then make whiskers from paper, or i was thinking it might be clever to use angel hair pasta. take a bag of coconut and divvy it into halfsies. sprinkle your bunny cake w/ one portion. (get it? that's fur.) drop a few drops of green food coloring into the other portion of coconut, and toss w/ a fork 'til it's grassy green. spread it out on a platter. transfer your bunny cake to the grassy knoll. nestle some malted milk eggs and jellybeans into the grass. tada! a bunny cake. friends and family will be impressed as will small children.

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