This Easter, I was thinking about what I could offer my lovely readers. Like many holidays, Easter itself is a time of delight for children, however in my opinion, Easter is more so for little ones because rather than holiday parties and gifts for young and old, we focus on the youth with Easter baskets and Easter egg hunts just for the little ones. So, my muse for today’s post are the kiddos as well. The pitter patter of tinny feet, chitter chatter, and utter curiosity of fledgling are simply enchanting.
It is this amazing youthful exploration that inspires thoughts of opportunities for more knowledge to children on Easter. I always give my little one a book related to each holiday during its respective celebrations, and that led me to think about the upcoming “World Book Day” next weekend. UNESCO selected April 23rd as “World Book Day” to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors, encouraging everyone, and young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.
When it comes to Easter, Peter Rabbit tales are first to come to mind, however I had something that appeals to both adults and children for Easter. So much literature depicts the theme of rebirth, however, one classic does so beautifully in a children’s novel. The Secret Garden is a timeless classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The children’s novel was first published as a book in 1911, and is considered a classic of English children’s literature. The novel has left generations of readers with warm, lifelong memories of its magical charms. It is that charm which is so important for me to bring to life on Easter Day.
The Secret Garden is poignant tale of a young British girl born and raised in India, orphaned and sent to live with her uncle in a Yorkshire mansion at the edge of a vast lonely moor. At first, she is frightened by this gloomy place, but with the help of the local boy Dickon, who earns the trust of the moor’s wild animals with his honesty and love, the invalid Colin, a spoiled, unhappy boy terrified of life, and a mysterious, abandoned garden, Mary is eventually overcome by the mystery of life itself—its birth and renewal, its love and joy.
One of the joys of reading The Secret Garden is devouring the descriptions of food which are not only served at the manor in attempts to fatten Mary and Colin, but also that which Mrs. Sowerby sends for the children to enjoy in the garden. The fresh and simple fare that she sends for the children is mesmerizing in the context. The sound of crusty cottage loaf, buns with currants, good new milk, heather honey, and clotted cream is delectable. Mrs. Sowerby’s kindness to the children is described by Colin as “magic is in her” just as her charmed food.
The passage that stands out to me and has inspired today’s meal is when Dickon discovers a way to cook meals for the children in the garden:
“Dickon made the stimulating discovery that in the wood in the park outside the garden where Mary had first found him piping to the wild creatures there was a deep little hollow where you could build a sort of tiny oven with stones and roast potatoes and eggs in it. Roasted eggs were a previously unknown luxury and very hot potatoes with salt and fresh butter in them were fit for a woodland king–besides being deliciously satisfying. You could buy both potatoes and eggs and eat as many as you liked without feeling as if you were taking food out of the mouths of fourteen people.”
The roasted eggs in Mary and Colin’s diet are symbolic in many ways and represents the children’s rebirth as each day they eat eggs and grow back to life and health. “Every beautiful morning the Magic was worked by the mystic circle.”
Roasted eggs are an art that has been lost in time and the thought of placing simple eggs in the glowing embers of a fire has magic of its own gently cooking in the outdoors while children play and work up an appetite. My recipe does not require for cooing in an open fire, but cooking with gentle care in an oven will do. I served Roasted Potatoes and Eggs on a bed of garden herbs, which I felt would be the most natural findings in an English garden and creates an earthy meal. Try mint, basil, and lime leaves – these are what I have growing fresh in my garden at the moment.
8-10 baby red potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh garden herb leaves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Wash and slice the potatoes in half.
- Place a good amount of olive oil on the sheet pan, about 4-5 tbsp. for a half sheet. Place the pan into the oven for 15 minutes.
- Take out the hot pan and place the potatoes, salt, and pepper. Toss with tongs and place the hot pan into the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- In the meantime, cook eggs.
- Place the egg in a saucepan with enough water to cover it and bring it to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let the egg sit in the hot water until it is well-cooked, about 13 minutes.
- Now it's time to roast the eggs by placing them directly on the rack of a preheated 350-degree oven until eggs just begin to get brown markings and a few cracks.
- Serve the eggs cut in half with the potatoes on a bed of garden herbs.