Monday, April 18, 2011


Fiddler on the Roof was on last night. It doesn't really have anything to do with Easter time that I can recall (I wasn't able to watch all of it) but television programmers seem to schedule it this time of year along with The Ten Commandments like clockwork.
The one thing Fiddler is strong on is the thread of Tradition!, it's one of the songs after all.

Easter time has many traditions in my family. In fact I like the traditions of Easter better than Christmas any day.

We dyed eggs on Good Friday, and on Saturday night faithfully put our plastic grass-filled baskets and Sunday shoes out for the Easter Bunny to fill with candy and eggs.

There were certain traditional German foods that were always made too. The one I never liked until very recently was the bread called Baska (busk-a). (If you follow the link it describes it more perfectly and exactly how it was in our house too, than I am doing here) It's anise flavored and I always hated it, especially the ones with raisins. The raisin ones were for Dad. It gets baked in tin coffee cans, so it pops out and sort of looks like Easter eggs. My Dad always ate his with a hard boiled egg.

But somewhere along the way, because Mom made it faithfully every year, I tried it again and liked it; no, I actually loved it. When it's toasted and buttered it's the most delicious bread you'll ever eat.

In 2004 I had a moment you could call 'realizing your mortality' around the Easter season. I thought, "the only person in my family who knows how to make this bread is Mom. Who will make it when she is no longer here? I must learn to make it and keep the tradition of my family."
I called Mom for the recipe.

The people who came before us worked hard. Everything they did was labor intensive including the cooking. I don't think anyone works this hard anymore. Making the Baska that year was so difficult and time consuming but it was worth it. In making it I knew the love that my Mom and my Grandmother before her put into every loaf.

I made the Easter Baska again this year, it was a bit easier this time but I still had to call* Mom for help for all the little nuances that aren't written in the recipe. I'm glad I know how to make this bread of my genealogy. It makes me connected to the women who made it every Easter before me and well, that's pretty cool to be creating something that stands the test of time. Nothing stands the test of time these days.

I plan to update the recipe with those details so someday I can pass it to the next generation because it's tradition!

Gotta go now, I'm in need of a slice of Baska toast with butter.

Happy Easter!

*it was actually texts; it is the digital age for crying out loud

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Zeitgeist of 2011

I feel as though one shouldn't leave a holiday post up for too long after the holiday has passed and it's already been too long. An entire quarter has drifted by. I really have nothing to write about at the moment although in the "Coming Attractions" portion of this blog I am working on a post about traditions.

We are simply in a momentary period of brighter discontent. Where things are at an even pace, no disasters have occurred and time sweeps swiftly by; the piles of dust just keep shifting from place to place.

What can one say in these moments while you wait for another shoe to drop?

I, for one, have had some burdens lifted while others remain. I can offer no further insights to this human condition than I already have; we must keep plugging away, striving to be better, wiser, more content than we were the day before if at all possible.

I am working on those daily. My laps are plentiful and easy now and the bicep muscle is making a showing again, thank you very much. It won't be long until I reclaim my pre-surgical wardrobe. I will eat cookies that day in a moment of celebration and perfect irony.

There are still endless rants about traffic and reality television but I'm tired of those, even though I'm pithy and clever.

Except in this post.

So, instead I'll give you some music recommendations.

Adele is my Debbie Gibson of these thirtysomething years. Her record "21" is life altering. I'm also moments away from getting a set of those eyelashes for my very own and wearing all black. Much more sophisticated than that hat, and face drawn on the knee.

The Civil Wars are the Alison Krauss of 2011.

Don't forget about the fun that is Natasha Bedingfield to power through a workout or the newest Avril Lavinge also gets major points for fun too.

Enjoy the 2nd quarter of the year and stay tuned for the traditions post and yet another birthday post!