Long ago, in the medieval days when kings lived in castles, people celebrated Easter by decorating the great halls with evergreens and spring flowers. Like us, their descendants, they enjoyed holiday feasts. The tables were decorated with centerpieces of large glass bowls filled with Pace eggs; the word “Pace” comes from the Hebrew word “Pasch,” for Passover, according to Madeleine Pellner Cosman's "Medieval Holidays and Festivals."
The eggs were given as gifts to actors who performed humorous plays and stories from the Bible, such as the one about Noah and the great flood and other favorites. Easter celebrations lasted for 120 days and included other holidays such as Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, God’s Friday or Good Friday, Mothering Sunday and others. The word "holiday" is derived from the term “Holy Day,” according to Cosman.
During Easter in past times, there were many activities that we still participate in today; one was egg rolling. Two teams rolled eggs across a long carpet, like the game of croquet. Perhaps rolling eggs reminded them of the angels rolling away the stone in front of Jesus' tomb. Today at Easter, people roll eggs on the lawn at the White House.
For your Easter feast or spring party, here is a delightful egg-themed treat that also doubles for a place card; the names are written on the eggs with edible-ink markers.
BUTTERSCOTCH NESTS WITH PERSONALIZED EGGS
11-ounce bag of butterscotch morsels
¾ cup peanut butter
12-ounce bag of chow mein noodles
large malted milk and candy eggs
marker with edible ink
Line two baking pans with waxed paper. Melt the butterscotch morsels in a large pan over low heat. Add peanut butter and stir until blended. Remove from heat and gently fold in the chow mein noodles. Form nests from about 1/3 cup of the noodle mixture on the wax paper and chill until firm. Makes about 10 large nests or you may choose to make smaller ones. Place on edible Easter grass on dessert plates or cupcake papers.
Using food-safe markers with edible ink, write the names of family and guests on large malted milk eggs or add a few jelly beans to each nest.
Pam McMurtry is a wife, parent, artist and writer with a bachelor's degree in art teaching. She is the author of "A Harvest and Halloween Handbook."