Right there between recent days of downy clouds and spring drizzle, were gossamer blue skies and shimmering sunshine. Easter Sunday.
It came early this year, which was enough to throw a wobble in my way. Although Easter falls at a different place each year, in my mind, it's in mid-April, always. So when it appears out of nowhere in March - surprise, surprise. Thus the wobble, not the well-in-hand. In fact, it wasn't until Good Friday that I finally pulled together sketchy plans for our holiday dinner, and I somehow skipped over any thoughts for dessert until mid-morning on the very day.
Saturday took care of the long-brined, long-smoked, long-roasted brisket I'd decided on, since it was already in the freezer and a ham wasn't - do what you can with what you have, and all that. And when I say Saturday took care of the brisket, I mean that quite literally. The brining and smoking went as planned, but after a late afternoon music practice, of which I was a part, stretched into an unexpected three hours, I came home to find that the grill had indeed "taken care" of the brisket.
The only solution I could scrape together with which to rescue dry, over-roasted meat, late evening before the holiday, twenty miles from a grocery store, was barbecue sauce. Somewhere between the Tango, the Two-Step, and a do-si-so, Easter Dinner Plan A of oven-warmed brisket, potatoes au gratin, and sautéed garlic asparagus became Easter Dinner Plan B of barbecue pulled brisket on kaiser rolls, potato salad, and coleslaw.
But take that Sunday sunshine and those shirtsleeves you're wearing, mix them with Plan B and you've got a prelude to summer that's worth looping into the day's celebration. I pulled out the sunny vintage sheet, threw it over the picnic table by the creek, grabbed the yellow napkins, the dinnerware, flatware, and glassware and toted them outside. I trotted a row of potted paper whites right down the center of the table, and I dare say, no one missed what had been on the original menu.
Even when the white cake (that was thrown together and into the oven moments before everyone was seated for dinner) decided to sink in the middle, no worries. That's what whipped cream is for. Plate that cake on the stand and fill the divot clear up. The guys around your picnic table with call it a Twinkie cake, and will eat it by giant (not kidding) wedges. With warmed strawberry/rhubarb jam drizzled on top, oh how fast it'll go.
After, with bellies round and eyelids droopy, we lounged in lawn chairs for hours, facing the creek and the full afternoon sun.
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