About My Easter Eggs

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Such a helper

Such a helper

It’s amazing the things that you suddenly realize you don’t know how to do. For example, even though I consider myself relatively adept in the kitchen, I don’t know how long it takes to hard-boil an egg. Even though I dyed Easter eggs every year of my childhood, I don’t know how to do it with food coloring instead of with those dyes that are specifically made for Easter eggs and packaged with instructions on the back. Even though I helped my mother make deviled eggs as a kid, I don’t remember exactly what ingredients to add to the egg yolks or how much.

These are all things that I have done in the past week. Since it all turned out relatively well, I decided to use my blog to chronicle the method of my eggsperiments. (Sorry, sorry, I know that’s a horrible pun. I couldn’t resist.)

IMG_0569I actually can’t say exactly how long I boiled the eggs, but it turned out to be the right amount of time. They were easy to peel and the yolks didn’t have that grayish color on the edges that you get when you boil them too long. I put them in the water before I started heating it and left them there until the dye was ready. I put the dye in blue plastic Solo cups, which is something that I ought to have done in the past. When I was a kid, we used those white plastic things that looked like really deep muffin tins; they were basically six attached cups, which meant that if someone jostled the table or dripped dye while taking an egg out, the colors might mix. Using separate cups is so much neater. At one point, we used plastic mugs, but they were the same mugs that we used for drinking, so I still think that my disposable cup method was better.

IMG_0567My dye recipe was approximately half a cup of water, a couple teaspoons of vinegar, and about four drops of gel food coloring. I had seven different colors. The best ones were the ones that had green in them. I had one that was pure green, one that was green and yellow, and one that was green and blue. The green and yellow came out looking almost completely yellow, but it was still a pretty color. The one that didn’t really work was the blue and red. I had assumed that it would be a nice purple color, but it was actually a kind of purplish gray. Overall, I think that the gel food dye came out looking better than the Easter-egg-specific dye tablets. The one downside—which some people may see as an upside—is that the colors didn’t soak through the shells much, so my deviled eggs aren’t quite as colorful as Easter deviled eggs are supposed to be. Some of them do have some colored splotches, though.

IMG_0572This brings me to my new and original deviled egg recipe. I had to put a bit of forethought into this because I had read a recipe online that had pickle relish, which sounded good, but it would mess up the texture. But then I realized that, since I was going to be mashing it with a fork instead of using a food processor, my filling wouldn’t be as smooth as the way my mother makes it anyway. So I decided to go ahead and use the pickle relish. The recipe is as follows. (Note that I didn’t measure out any ingredients, which is why I didn’t include specific quantities. Feel free to taste test.)

IMG_0575Crack and peel the hard-boiled eggs. (If your cat steals one or two or three and smashes them on the floor, go ahead and use them anyway, unless you are serving the deviled eggs to other people, in which case you probably want to keep your cat out of the kitchen.) Cut each egg in half the long way and remove the yolk. Mash the yolks up with a fork. Add miracle whip and mix thoroughly. My egg-yolk-to-miracle-whip ratio was probably about 4-to-1. You want a lot of miracle whip, but mostly egg. Add mustard and pickle relish to taste. I used about two teaspoons of each, for twelve eggs. Put a slightly-heaping teaspoon of the filling into each half egg. Sprinkle with a generous amount of paprika. (Contrary to common belief, the paprika is not optional. The paprika is important.)

Now I have twenty-four deviled eggs, which I have to eat by myself because the cat touched them. I’m not going to be eating much besides deviled eggs for a while. Such is the cost of being an old maid who insists upon dying Easter eggs.

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Jesus Christ Superstar

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Jesus Christ SuperstarAndrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar is a really great musical. I am aware that it was a successful stage play before it was a movie, but the 1973 movie version is what I’ve loved and seen at least once a year for most of my life. (Although I believe that the CD my family has was made with the 1996 London cast) As in all of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals, the music is incredible. Besides that, there’s something fascinating and powerful about the anachronistic setting and the opening and closing scenes that show the actors arriving at and departing from the setting. The casting is great, too. Still, it is the music that really makes Jesus Christ Superstar excellent.

But Jesus Christ Superstar is not a Christian musical. It technically is about Jesus, and the characters and events are relatively closely based on the Bible, but that’s about as much as can be said for its religious value. It is my understanding that neither Andrew Lloyd Webber nor Tim Rice consider themselves to be Christians or claim that Jesus Christ Superstar is a specifically religious movie. Although there isn’t anything that directly denies Jesus’ divinity, there certainly isn’t anything that affirms it, either, and there is no discussion of His salvific work. Very few of the lyrics even come from the Bible.

 

"Every time I look at you I don't understand why you let the things you did get so out of hand."

“Every time I look at you I don’t understand why you let the things you did get so out of hand.”

Much of the musical is shown from Judas’ point of view, and his frustration with Jesus is the main theme. After the introduction that shows the cast arriving in the desert and setting up, the movie opens with a musical soliloquy by Judas in which he rants and rails about how things have gone too far. Over the course of the movie, we see Jesus ride into Jerusalem, get betrayed and arrested, appear before Pilate and Herod, and get sentenced to crucifixion. Throughout all of this, we see Jesus’ other followers’ devotion to him, his apprehension concerning his upcoming death, and Judas’ confusion and conflict as he decides to hand Jesus over and then regrets it. In the end, Judas hangs himself, Jesus is sentenced to death, and, before the crucifixion scene, there is a concluding song and dance number in which Judas and a group of scantily clad female backup singers sing the title song, asking questions about Jesus’ identity and mission that the movie never answers. At least this movie shows the crucifixion as being the most significant aspect of Jesus’ life, which is more than some movies about Jesus do. But Jesus Christ Superstar completely leaves out the resurrection. It’s almost as if Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice didn’t know what to do with it, so they ignored it.

At any rate, ending the movie with the resurrection would have detracted from the emphasis that the movie puts on Judas’ questions to and about Jesus. It’s actually really sad that the movie ends the way it does. To quote 1 Corinthians 15:17, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” And anyway, the questions that are asked in Jesus Christ Superstar would not be left unanswered if this was a Christian movie that portrayed the resurrection. Okay, I get that the line “Who are you, what have you sacrificed?” is there because “sacrificed” rhymes with “Christ”, and that it’s completely obvious what Jesus sacrificed. But the song asks other questions, including “Do you think you’re what they say you are?” and “Did you mean to die like that; was that a mistake?” At that point in the movie, Jesus is done talking. There is no final song in which Jesus responds to Judas and to agnostic viewers who share Judas’ questions. This portrayal of Jesus never explains that he is to die to atone for the sins of humanity and to bring salvation and eternal life. He just dies and disappears, and the rest of the actors break character and climb back onto the bus and leave without him. The end.

 

It's harder to see in a still image than the video, but you can still sort of see the shepherd dude near the left hand side.

It’s harder to see in a still image than the video, but you can still sort of see the shepherd dude near the left hand side.

But then, in the last couple seconds of the movie, something cool happens. We get a view of the sun setting behind the cross that the actors have left behind, and the faint image of a human figure walks across the frame. This was actually a blooper; when they were shooting the movie, they accidentally caught a random local shepherd on film, but they thought it was a cool visual effect, so they used it. I don’t know whether or not they even realized that it really looks as if the shepherd is Jesus Himself. That final image almost seems as if it is an acknowledgement of the resurrection after all. I’m not going to claim that this was divine intervention; God doesn’t need to miraculously show His hand by speaking through secular art when He already communicates with us via the Bible. But it’s pretty satisfying to see that, despite their efforts, the moviemakers were incapable of totally ignoring the resurrection.

Happy Easter! He is risen!

Easter

Random Thoughts on a Sunday Afternoon, Episode Six

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Louisville Kentucky1. If anyone has been keeping track, they will have noticed that I haven’t written many blog posts over the past few weeks. There are several reasons for this, many of which are quite predictable and include a lack of free time and an excessive amount of stuff to do during these infrequent bouts of free time. (For example, I spent the last three days in Louisville, Kentucky, at an academic conference. That is why the five pictures included in this blog post all show scenes from downtown Louisville. For the record, they were all taken by me between about 11:30 AM and noon on Friday, April 5.) Despite the aforementioned fact that I have not posted much on my blog lately, I would like the record to show that I had started many things that were intended to become blog posts, including some potentially good ones for Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, and April Fools’ Day aka The First Day of Baseball Season. The Holy Saturday one was practically finished, too, so I’m kind of annoyed with myself for not going ahead and finishing it on time. However, I can now inform you that I actually have two finished drafts, so I actually can promise at least two new blog posts after this one in the relatively near future.

2. (Added much later in the day) I would just like to stick a disclaimer here and say that I haven’t really read through much of this after typing it, so it is going to be even more random and disjointed than usual, and probably will contain many typos. Sorry ‘bout that, but I’m not going to actually get around to posting this if I take the time to edit it.

Louisville Kentucky3. After church this morning, I stopped at Wal Mart to pick up some hand soap and some band-aids.  For some reason, these are both products that are challenging to find. The hand soap was somewhat easier, but the band-aids greatly baffled me. They had gauze bandages and little circular band-aids, they had band-aids with pictures of cartoon characters and specially shaped band-aids and water-proof band-aids and special non-stick band-aids for sensitive skin. But they didn’t have regular band-aids. All I wanted was the kind of band-aids that you put on your toe to keep it from bleeding in dance class. But they didn’t have that kind of band-aid, so instead, I got absorbent non-stick band-aids with comfortable fabric that stretches with movement and innovative adhesive that stays on long without irritating the skin. So the box tells me. It seemed like the closest thing to normal band-aids that I could find.

4. Today, as I left my dorm to go get food, people stared at me. This was not surprising, given the fact that I was wearing black boots, blue-and-white socks that went up just barely past the top of the boots, a fairly formal purple floral skirt, a very casual T-shirt, and the earrings and necklace I had worn to church this morning. I fear that I may have committed some kind of fashion crime.

Louisville Kentucky5. It struck me as being very interesting that in today’s gospel reading, (John 20:19-31) Jesus identifies himself first to the group of disciples and then to Thomas by showing them his hands and side, where he bears marks from the crucifixion. I have always been puzzled by the fact that, after the resurrection, people who knew Jesus keep on not recognizing him, but it’s cool to note that even the very first Christians recognized Christ by His sacrifice for them; the crucifixion was the foundation for their faith. Another fascinating thing along the same lines is Luke 24:13-35, the part where Jesus talks to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They come to realize who Jesus is and to understand what he has done when he first explains the scriptures to them and then breaks bread and gives it to them. It’s Word and Sacrament.

6. I wish I was doing a jigsaw puzzle today. Given the fact that it’s 4:30 in the afternoon and I have yet to accomplish enough stuff to justify the existence of this day, I can’t really take the time to start one now. But a jigsaw puzzle seems like a fun thing to do right now, and besides, I have the feeling that there are many rambling thoughts I need to be thinking, and jigsaw puzzles are good things to do while thinking rambling thoughts. Unfortunately, I don’t really have time for rambling thoughts right now, either. That’s problematic, because it’s really hard to think organized thoughts when my brain is in rambling-thought mode.

Louisville Kentucky7. My hands smell like early December. It’s this new hand soap; I like its scent much better than the previous hand soap, but it seems all wrong for April. This anomaly in time disorients and confuses me.

8. Maybe this is just some kind of senioritis thing, but I have lately found myself having a very hard time distinguishing between reality and imagination. Just a minute ago, I suddenly and randomly remembered a certain recent conversation, but I couldn’t remember whether it was in real life, a dream, a movie, or just my imagination. I couldn’t even remember who the other person was. It doesn’t help that I’m taking a class in postmodernism, and some part of my mind is fascinated by the question of what constitutes reality.

Louisville Kentucky9. Along the same lines, I have noticed something very odd about college life. This is especially true of my current phase of college life, in which I am trying to figure out what in the name of Galoompa is going to happen after I graduate. Anything that has to do with “the real world”- looking into financial aid, jobs, places to live, etc .- involves sitting around and staring at a computer screen. Likewise, homework either involves computers or books. But when I step away from all of that and do something like running away to a certain secret hiding place and flipping over logs to look at the bugs underneath them, or driving in a literally real car on a literally real road, I can guarantee that everything happening in my head is abstract and/or imaginary. If I’m not pondering hypothetical questions or reliving conversations that never actually happened, I’m probably making up stories or determining details of some imaginary fantasy world. So “the real world” apparently exists only in my computer, and imagination apparently exists only in the outside world. The question is which reality is real, or rather, in which reality I am real. And the other question is, whether I’m actually trying to find reality or hide from reality.

It’s still Easter, people!

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Every year, at about December 26, I am disappointed and saddened to notice that most people are taking down their Christmas decorations, putting away their Christmas music, and losing interest in what is popularly referred to as the Christmas Spirit. At that point, by my count, there are still eleven days left of Christmas, a few more weeks in which to observe Christmas, and the rest of the year for obsessing about Christmas. After all, Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation, and Jesus stayed incarnate for more than a day, so there’s no reason for us to stop celebrating. I feel the same way about Easter.  Just because we’ve moved on to the next square on the calendar doesn’t mean that the holiday is over.

When I wake up tomorrow, it will still be Easter. When I have eaten the last of the Easter candy that my parents recently sent me (Thank you, parents!) it will still be Easter. Easter officially ends on Pentecost, which is May 27 this year, but the Resurrection never ends, because Jesus is still alive and always will be.