|(Photo by Julie)|
I'll give you a little foreshadow here: they don't turn out like this.
It's that time of year again. Holy week.
The kiddos and I make Resurrection Cookies every year, on the Saturday evening before Easter. What a delightful time to reflect on the actual meaning of the holiday, to foster a sense of family unity and graciousness, and to bring Christ’s sacrifice out of history and into the home.
He is risen!
1 cup of whole pecans (Almonds will do, or walnuts; if all else fails, have your kids stuff their pockets with the free peanuts at Five Guys and use those. Shell them first.)
1 teaspoon of vinegar (If you’re out of vinegar, vodka works. Don’t ask me how I know that.)
3 egg whites (Good luck separating eggs if you sampled the vinegar alternative above.)
a pinch of salt (That’s more than a sprinkle and less than a dash. What kind of sick mind comes up with quantities like that? Give me numbers, you Martha Stewart-wannabe sadist.)
1 cup of sugar (If you don’t have that much sugar in your house you have more significant problems than I can address here.)
zippered plastic sandwich bag (Get one made from an industrial strength polymer, if you can procure it. Trust me.)
wooden spoon (I’ve also used a rolling pin, a hammer, and the side of my own fist. The last one hurts and leaves marks, but is very psychologically satisfying.)
tape (Any kind will do, based on the trustworthiness of your children. In my house we use Kevlar-reinforced duct tape.)
Bible (Why are you looking for an explanation on this one? Do you not know what this is, where to get one, or why one might consult it at Easter? Heathen.)
Summon your children to the kitchen. This may require disconnecting the Wi-Fi and/or cable. Tell them to stop whining, because “We’re baking Resurrection Cookies and this is a cherished family memory in the making so sit down and be quiet.”
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This is important; don’t wait to do it later. You’ll foul up the cookies before you’ve even started. (Don’t worry: there will be many more opportunities to foul them up.)
Tell your son to stop poking your daughter in the temple.
Place the pecans in the zippered plastic sandwich bag and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon to break the nuts into small pieces.
Take the spoon away from your son and give it to your sobbing daughter who has a welt swelling up on her forearm. Take it away from her when she knocks her brother in the head with it. Give it to the little one, who wields it like a mace and bludgeons one of her siblings in the teeth. Take the spoon away and smack it on the counter to make your point about being kind and gentle with one another, thereby breaking it into two pieces. Get an alternate
instrument to finish off the nuts. Pick up the baggie and discover that the
shattered nuts have shredded the cheap plastic and are now littered like gravel
across your kitchen counter.
Read John 19:1-3 and explain to your bruised and weeping children that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. (See how nicely this all comes together?)
Let each child smell and taste the vinegar. Put one teaspoon of vinegar into a mixing bowl. Read John 19:28-30, and explain to the children that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. If you forgot that you were out of vinegar and substituted vodka, give each child an aspirin and some tomato juice. Agree that you won’t tell Daddy they dropped the remote in the toilet if they don’t tell him about this.
Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life, which must be why we hard-boil them, decorate them with pastel colors, and hand them over to a white rabbit to be strewn around our front yards on Easter morning. Makes perfect sense. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. If the children ask for further clarification regarding how eggs relate to Christ’s death and resurrection tell them to stop thinking so much and eat another Salvation Peep or some Sanctification Jelly Bellies.
Read John 20:10-11. Sprinkle a little salt in each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. (Which is completely gross, because who knows where their grubby little paws have been, and now you’ve got both hand-filth and tongue-bacteria in your cookies. Awesome.) Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’s followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
Then take the tape away from the kid who’s been messing around with it and spend fifteen minutes extracting it from the hair of the offending child’s nemesis. If you elected to use duct tape, abandon all hope and pull out the scissors or pruning shears. Call to see if your salon has an opening prior to Sunday morning church services. Or drape your child in a headdress and tell everyone she’s re-enacting Mary’s discovery at the tomb.
Get the sugar. Drop it on the floor when one of the kids takes a swing at another one, misses, and connects with your elbow. Clean it up as you sweetly tell your children it’s no big deal and everyone makes messes, darlings. Get more sugar. Add it to the bowl and read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died for our sins because he loves us all and wants us to know and belong to him.
Smack in the back of the head the child who mutters, “Everyone except her.”
Get between that child and the insulted one who shrieks, “Hey!” and goes after her sibling with bared teeth and extended claws.
Meanwhile the third child dips into the bowl for a handful of sugar and spills half the mixture on the floor.
Scoop it all back into the bowl. (It was already germ-infused from the little snotwads’ hands and mouths. What’s a few more microbes at this stage of the game?) Beat it with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
The children will have vacated the kitchen by minute three of the mind-numbing mixer step. You will not see them again. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3 to the cat. Explain that the eggs’ white color represents the purity…
Oh, criminey. Just give it up. They’re gone. It’s over.
Have a drink.
Eat some of the candy you bought to put in their Easter baskets. They don’t deserve it anyway.
Have another drink.
Start to feel re-invigorated.
Stand up and take a deep breath.
Bellow, “We’re finishing these @*%# Resurrection Cookies! Get back in this kitchen right now!”
Sweep the broken nuts off your counter and into the bowl, and mix well.
Slap spoonfuls of the stuff onto a wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’s body was laid, and that if they don’t sit down, shut up, and listen quietly to Matthew 27:57-60 you’re going to make sure they each get a burial mound of their very own right this stinkin’ minute!
Put the cookie sheet in the oven. Close the oven door and turn the oven OFF. Seal the door with a piece of tape. Threaten to burn their favorite toys if they crack that oven open even one centimeter before tomorrow morning.
Read Matthew 27:65-66, and tell them you don’t care how sad it makes them to do all this work and then leave the cookies in the oven overnight, because they deserve cookies even less than the people who mournfully buried Jesus and left him in the tomb on Good Friday. In fact, they are less deserving than the godless hypocrites who crucified Our Savior and...
Okay. Deep breath.
“Off to bed now, children. Mommy loves you.” (See Evening Vespers.)
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. They’re hollow! The tomb is empty!
Read Matthew 28:1-9. He is risen! He is risen, indeed!
“Um, Mom? They’re not hollow. They’re actually kind of gooey in the middle.”
“Ew! What’s this fuzzy thing sticking out of the bottom?”
“Mommy, did you remember I’m allergic to tree nuts—gaack!”
* * *
Get dressed in your Sunday finest, scrawl “new Epi-Pen” on your weekly shopping list, and head off to church. Tell your Bible study group, to whom you bragged about your annual theological baking foray, that the cookies turned out splendidly. Pray God will forgive you for what you said under your breath about the woman and her perfect little band of Mickey Mouse Club children who hand out homemade cross-shaped cutout cookies, decorated with multi-colored royal icing and sugar glitter and say, “Bless you on this Easter morning!”
Then go home and bite the ears off your children’s chocolate bunnies. Tell each kid that one of the others did it.