personal essay

The Only Normal Thing for Me This Easter Is Pizza

published Apr 9, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Masur

I’ve never met a single soul who celebrates Easter exactly the way my family does. For three days straight — Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday — we shuffle from house to house, piling our plates high with food. It’s a marathon not a sprint, with a menu that starts with homemade pizza, stuffed escarole pies, and pizza rustica (ginormous pies filled with what can only be described as cholesterol); an antipasti platter the size of a dining room table; stuffed shells and Sunday gravy; meatballs, sausage, braciole, and veal soup; a fresh ham and a spiral sliced ham; wheat pies and a Jell-O mold. It’s weird. It’s a lot. It’s tradition. And we’re probably not eating any of it this year — except the pizza.

Credit: Lauren Masur
This is just what we eat on Sunday.

This Easter will be different. In these strange times, our typical 50+ person Easter gathering would be considered a public health risk, and my grandmother Peggy, the tradition maestro and menu master, is quarantined hours away. Even if we could gather as a family, it feels wrong to partake in such an extravagant celebration when so many people around the world are struggling to get basic necessities.

This year, instead of waking up early on Good Friday to my grandparents in the kitchen in a cloud of flour dust, I’m going to wake up to the same three faces (my parents and my brother) I’ve been stuck in a house with for three weeks. We don’t have an alternate menu plan yet (although my mom did purchase four heads of escarole and a few different kinds of cured meats just in case we have the energy to make an attempt), but pizza is a given.

We’ll FaceTime my grandmother to walk us through her homemade pizza dough recipe, simmer a huge pot of red sauce, cube a block of Polly-O mozzarella, and eat about a quarter of the cheese cubes before they even touch the pizza. And maybe, for a moment, everything will feel like it’s back to normal.