Easter is upon us! That joyous time when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and the blessed hope of an eternity in heaven.
Are you in charge of dinner Sunday? I was planning to do Dale’s Easter dinner from our upcoming cookbook for some dear neighbors, then I fell prey to a difficult cold and had to cancel. I’ll miss that leg of lamb and asparagus in beurre blanc with strawberry fool for dessert.
If you are cooking for Easter, here’s a handy idea. Fix up this simple but delicious appetizer to please early-arriving guests. It’s quite versatile and can be used for any celebration from a High Holy Day to a personal evening at the movies.
Cheese Spread with Olives and Walnuts
I like to watch movies; especially the “screwball” films of the 30s and 40s. I’m not sure how many times I’ve watched “Bringing Up Baby” with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, but I’d watch it again, if some one would invite me to do so.
Then there is “The Awful Truth” with Grant and Irene Dune, and “The Talk of the Town” with Grant and Jean Arthur. “Christmas in Connecticut” is a hilarious charade in which Barbara Stanwyck poses as the consummate home maker, when she knows absolutely nothing about cooking, child rearing or household management. In the end, her deception is found out, but the soldier marries her anyway. I like happy endings
I like to snack while watching these delightful flicks, but popcorn just isn’t my thing. It’s nice to have a little of my leftover veal pate with dill pickles or fresh strawberries and bannas dipped in melted chocolate. There is onesnack that I have done for years: a cheese spread with olives and walnuts. I spread it on crackers or little rounds of toasted French bread. Frequently I have rolled it into a ball and coated it with finely ground walnuts or chopped parsley and served it at parties with crackers that are a little more elegant than my everyday Ritz. Whether you serve it plain or fancy, it is great for watching a football game with friends or by yourself when you watch Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth I send Errol Flynn to the gallows. (Make sure that you have plenty of hankies if you watch that one.)
You Will Need:
8 oz. Cream Cheese
6 oz. Velveeta Processed Cheese Food
½ cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
½ cup Pimento Stuffed Olives
½ cup Chopped Walnuts
- Shred the cheddar cheese.
- Chop the walnuts and olives either with a knife or in your food processor.
- Cut the cream cheese and Velveeta into chunks.
- Put all the ingredients in your food processor or electric mixer and mix.
- Do not make a fine puree. Leave some lumps for a more interesting texture.
- Serve in a bowl or rolled into a ball.
- Find a really good movie and have a great evening.
- Food for Thought:
- The Joy He Brings
- A favorite Easter song begins like this, “Hear the bells ringing, the children are singing: ‘Christ is risen from the dead.'”
- The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ at the beginning of the 1st century was testified to by more than 500 witnesses. It brought the kind of joy that requires a multitude of bells—a carillon ringing through the countryside, heralding hope. It was a hope so real that most of Jesus’ apostles sacrificed their lives for it.
- The Son of God became a man. He taught, healed, was rejected, murdered and finally, raised from the dead for one purpose: to bring us into the Trinity’s joyous circle of love. In his excellent book The Reason for God Tim Keller says, “The inner life of the Triune God. . .is characterized by mutual self-giving. Each of the divine persons centers on the others. None demands the others revolve around Him. Each voluntarily circles the other two, pouring love, delight and adoration into them. Each. . .loves, adores, defers to and rejoices in the others. That creates a dynamic pulsating, dance of joy and love.”
- The tendency of human nature is to circle around itself, its problems and desires, but God’s desire is that we circle around Him. He wants us to be God centered, not self-centered, for self-centeredness leads to death and psychological alienation.When we believe Christ died to take away all our wrong doings and ask Him to take charge of our lives, we have the opportunity to enter into his present and future joy.
- Last year, my Mom died at 87. During the difficult months before her passing, I often took up watch beside her bed. She was fading away before my eyes. I dwelt in between Heaven and earth with her, prayed she was right with God and wrestled with the process of death and the mystery of Heaven. Was Heaven really a place? What would happen when Mom died? Would she experience nothingness as some say, or a deep sleep with resurrection far off in the future? Perhaps she’ll arrive in Heaven immediately, where bells are ringing because she has come home? Will she?
- On the day of her graveside service, I remember positioning myself across from her rose-strewn coffin and listening to a stunning baritone voice sing Mom’s favorite hymn: How Great Thou Art. Suddenly God flooded the tent with His presence. I couldn’t move. The preacher’s words floated past me. When he finished, there was a deep silence. Then The Lord’s Prayer rang through the air, melodious, rich and golden—exalting Him who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I wept and knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, that Heaven was real.
- Eugene Peterson says. “There would be no message of hope for us if there were no hope for life after death (no bells, no carillon, no joy). But you can have solid hope for eternal life when you know the One who called himself the Resurrection and the Life. “As we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord with a festive meal let us rejoice in His promise: “Everyone one who lives and believes in me does not ultimately die at all” (John 11:26 The Message)[RuthAnn]