April 12, 2006
It’s that time of the year again when we celebrate death and resurrection of the Lord – better know as Easter. For those who don’t buy into the whole “church” thing, it’s the time of year when we tell kids that rabbits lay colorful eggs and we should hunt for them and eat them. It’s your choice as to which is more believable – dead man walking or tran species modification.
Regardless, like all other American holidays, we’ve surrounded this one with a lot that just doesn’t make sense, but that we don’t question because it’s part of our traditions. For example – the chocolate bunny. Where in the grand scheme of things did the bunny come from in the first place?
I always looked forward to the chocolate bunny. Even after I was too old for an Easter basket, I insisted on having a chocolate bunny. And I always ate the ears first. It had nothing to do with a need to decapitate the bunny; it was only a chocolate shape, not an actual bunny. It was simply because it was the narrowest part of the rabbit and therefore the easiest to bite off.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, the chocolate bunny isn’t the only Easter must have. In Illinois (around the Chicagoland area at least) the Lamb cake is a common staple of the Easter dinner.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw one of these. I was 18 years old. They just don’t do Lamb cakes in Phoenix where I grew up. But Chicago has a heavy Catholic influence so Lamb cake makes some sort of sense since Jesus was often referred to as “the Lamb of God”. He was also the “sacrificial Lamb”, so in all fairness, a Lamb cake that will be sacrificed on the alter of dessert is befitting.
It doesn’t make it any less creepy though. Unlike the barely defined chocolate bunny, the Lamb Cake looks like an actual lamb. At least as much like a lamb as a cake can look. They use those star shaped icing tips to decorate it to give the feel of “wool”. They put a bow on its neck and they give it eyes and a nose. Now the question of “which end of the cake do I cut first?” brings on a whole new meaning. You may actually be decapitating the symbolic Jesus. I repeat: Creepy! But to anyone who grew up in the area, it wouldnt be Easter without the Lamb cake.
Enough of that. Whatever your holiday traditions may be, Happy Easter to all.