Saturday, April 23, 2011

Egg-citing Enough, for Easter

I'm standing in line at Walgreens to buy AA batteries when I notice the unusual heftiness of the man in front of me.
He wears a muscle T-shirt (popular down here in Texas) that stretches over his pot belly. The tiny drugstore shopping cart exaggerates his girth. And then, in that cart, I see a dozen "eggs." Not really eggs. But something I've seen marketed greatly over the past week or so, labeled "Cascarones."

Mr. Burly leans over to the cashier and they exchange a few words in Spanish. Gracefully, he dips his bigness out of line toward a pyramid -- and I mean TALL pyramid -- of these "eggs" and stacks four dozen under one massive arm, then two dozen more in his hands.

These "eggs" aren't still food, because they aren't refrigerated. But I have no idea what they are or why this large man needs dozens of them.

So, when it's my turn at the cashier, I ask.

She tilts her cute little teenage head and smiles a timid little smile.

"They have confetti inside," she says. "We crack them open on each other's heads."

Crack 'em? Heads?

"It's fun," she raises a shoulder to her ear, and giggles, then confides: "Especially on someone who doesn't like their hair messed up."

Crack an egg on my head? Cover me with confetti? It sounds like fun, especially if I get to watch a bunch of giggly kids go a'crackin'.

But, I say to the cashier, "I never heard of such a thing."

"Really?" Her little mouth turns pouty and her dark brown eyes become saucers. "Well, I'm from Michigan and we do it there. I thought everyone has Cascarones."

The great cultural divide of youth.

I remember thinking everyone ate peanut soup on Thanksgiving, got apples in their Christmas stocking and had to hunt for their Easter baskets.

So I guess it's a Mexican thing, because Corpus Christi has lots of Mexican Americans and my cashier is Mexican-American, too.

And as I drive home, I see makeshift egg booths popping up on street corners, selling the decorated, filled eggs for less than  $2 a dozen. And Easter is just a few days away.

At home, I Google "cascarones" and find even Martha Stewart knows how to make them. And although they have Italian roots, they're cracked open mostly on Mexican heads. At Easter. For luck.

Perhaps I'm the only one who didn't know ...

1 comment:

Lynda H said...

Well, I hadn't heard of this either! Thanks. In our family (Ukrainian roots), we hardboil our eggs in onion skins (gorgeous, brown colour) then, at dinner, everyone holds their eggs larger, bottom side out and we bang them, in pairs. Once yours breaks, you're out. Unbroken egg owners keep going until, eventually, only one person has an unbroken egg and is "the winner". Just did that at my dad's today (only four of us left in this part of the world) and I won! When I'd told this story to my Jewish friend after our first Passover seder with her friends and family (boiled eggs dipped in salt are part of the seder), she adapted my "Easter" egg game to her seders, and this has passed along to others as well. I shall tell HER the cascarones tale; maybe that'll be at NEXT year's seders. Great story. Hope all is well with y'all (miss hearing and saying that!).