|Alex's paska ready for the oven.|
Monday evening our world fell apart with a death in the immediate family. But all I will say about that is that cooking throughout the week helped us maintain our sanity. We decided to continue with the Easter lunch -- that the resurrection would help remind us that there was more to life after death.
Tuesday, I went shopping for the remaining ingredients needed, except for the ham which was specially ordered from Sean Kelly, our premiere butcher in Newport. I got pickled herring, kobasa and kabanos at the Polish store. They also had white eggs for colouring. Typically in Ireland they sell only brown eggs. I bought cheesecake which would spare me the need to make it. I also bought farmer's cheese and a butter lamb, and sliced cheeses.
Wednesday we made the pashtet and I made makivnyk and pishinger for dessert between bursts of tears. The pashtet turned out great. The desserts so so.
Thursday was dedicated to mourning at the funeral. So many friends and neighbours arrived to share the sorrow. Each one takes a bit of your grief and makes it their own, especially in Ireland. There is nothing like an Irish wake and funeral. Much gratitude. Deep breath.
|Our Easter table|
Saturday, we drove to Newport to pick up the ham -- impressive, Kelly's best, and fresh lettuce. Then I prepared the Easter basket while Alex got to work creating breads for the lunch: sourdough white, malthouse and rye as well as Ukrainian paska. He got them all really right.
I arranged the rushnychok in the basket, then the paska, a length of kobasa, lots of coloured eggs, horseradish, salt, butter and cheese and finally my favourite pysanky. I added a candle then covered it with another embroidered rushnychok.
We arrived at St. Mary's just before 2:30 and the church was packed. Our Polish dentists were sitting in the bench we chose and we exchanged greetings. I was so hoping to see a Ukrainian basket, but they were all Polish. The difference is remarkable. The time came and still they were coming. It looked like people had come from all over Mayo and beyond. What a neat thing to witness. It wasn't Ukrainian but it was close.
The Irish priest came in and asked everyone to bring their baskets up. They lined them up on the steps leading up to the altar. I have never seen so many baskets, very pastel as Polish baskets are. Mine was the most ornate and complex. It was the only Ukrainian basket. I had hoped to identify Ukes in the community by their baskets, but it was not to be. They were all in Dublin from the looks of it. I learned later that there is a Ukrainian church in Dublin and they had a very special Easter celebration. The baskets there all looked like mine.
I cooked the ham all day after that. The house smelled glorious. Alex continued the baking process.
Sunday morning we arose early and got to work. Alex slicing the meats and baking the breads, I heating the borscht and bringing in and arranging all the salads and desserts. I laid the tables, set up the dishes and glasses, pulled out the liquor and arranged the garden furniture in the hopes it might be warm enough to be outside.
Everyone arrived right around 1:00. It turned out lovely and a great distraction. I explained about the significance of the traditions and how each of the foods was a traditional Easter component. People were really interested and surprisingly the favourite dishes were the borscht and cvikla which I did not expect. The ham was delicious and naturally we had way too much food. It would not have been a Ukrainian feast otherwise. Eat! Take home. We were able to sit outside for a part of the time.
Then as the party broke up, we went to the wake of a friend who had passed away two days before of cancer. Young woman and very central to life in Mulranny. Caroline will be missed. Her mother, Mary, hugged us and lamented for our loss when she was feeling it herself. It's an Easter we will never forget. Of course it brought back memories of my sister who died on Good Friday, March 29th that year. Our funeral was March 29 this year. My father was also buried during Holy week, so Easter will be forever a time a darkness on my soul. I suppose I could think of it as passing to a better life, but of that I am not certain. I just know I will be grieving on these days forever. At least there is some comfort in knowing that that they are all at peace.
My distress was such that I completely spaced out and forgot to take pictures, of the basket, the church, the table and everything. I have little to show, except a photo my friend took of my dismantled basket on the table. Suffice it to say, I was on autopilot all week, but each step made a difference in life. I am grateful for small favours.
Христос воскрес! Воїстину Воскрес!
Khrystos voskres! Voistynu Voskres!
Christ has risen! Indeed He has risen!