Monday, March 31, 2008

A-tisket, a-tasket, a sugar-filled Easter basket

Here we are, the week after Easter. The religious ceremonies have ended, the special Easter clothes are hanging back in the closet. The ham is gone, and we’re all eating egg salad sandwiches.
And I’d bet money that if you’ve got a little kid living in your house, there is plastic Easter grass scattered in every imaginable place – and then some. I don’t know how it does it, but in my house those little strands make their way in cracks and crevices unreachable by the human hand. Most likely, I’ll still be finding pieces of it when I’m putting up my Christmas decorations.
And I’d also bet that even if you don’t have a kid around, a little bit of Easter candy has made it’s way into your house.
I know we’re just swimming in it.
It came at us from all directions; from parties and relatives and schools and yes, even from Mr. Peter Cottontail himself. And it’s all for the sake of giving that we now have actively contributed to the fact that Easter is the second largest candy-associated holiday, topped only by Halloween and knocking out Valentine’s Day and Christmas by a chocolate landslide.
That chocolate landslide includes the most popular treat associated with Easter, the very traditional chocolate egg, which was first made in the early 1800’s in Europe. Of course, way back then I’m sure they didn’t contain yummy things like broken up candy-bars or that mysterious cream filling that is so delicious because I’m pretty sure it’s liquid sugar.
And while chocolate eggs are technically the most popular Easter candy, we were personally bombarded by a confection in the shape of a happy little forest creature. Chocolate bunnies. Sweet and creamy hasenpfeffer, vegetarian style. Big ones, little ones, white ones, peanut butter ones, dark ones. Some wearing bows, some carrying baskets. As stated by the American Confectioners Association, 76% of people eat the ears off the rabbits first, and we fall well into that majority because there are plenty of deaf bunnies around this house.
And who can forget my personal favorite, jellybeans? 16 million of them are produced every year for Easter, and I reckon that at least 1 million of those end up getting lost or hidden with that pesky Easter grass; only the jellybeans you pull out from behind the couch at Christmas can not be reused for the following Easter.
Last but not least, the Peeps. Apparently there are five million of these sugar-coated marshmallow treats produced each day in preparation for the holiday, and I’d bet that at least half of these are left to dry out and get thrown away. That’s what happens in our house. Does anyone really eat these things?
But all candy statistics aside, there’s one fact that remains. We’ve got enough candy here to last us for months. And trying to be a health-conscious parent, it is a constant battle fighting off the sugar-hungry children who, if left alone, would eat candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We try to control them, but it doesn’t stop them from asking “can I have a piece of candy?” over and over like a broken record, to which we reply our own broken record, “not now, maybe later.” It’s a sad, sad, cycle that leaves me, the keeper of the candy, alone with all of the goodies…all of those scrumptious, tempting goodies.
And being the good mother that I am, I do my best to dispose of it all before my kids can get to it. So it’s really in protection of their health and teeth that I ate about three pounds of bunny ears today.
Besides, I deserve it because I’ll be the one cleaning up all the Easter grass.

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