My grandmother, an Italian immigrant from Caulonia (southern Italy), made the bread without a recipe. She just knew what to add and when from years of making it with her mother. Who probably made it with her mother and so on. My mother, (her daughter-in-law), learned to make it by watching my grandmother and wrote all the steps down on a recipe card.
As a child, I always helped make the bread. I loved getting a pinch of the dough. I also loved working the dough till it was just right to braid. I loved the smell of the bread cooking in the oven until it was a shiny, golden brown. And nothing compares to the taste of this bread on the palate. Easter mornings we all looked forward to the warm loaf.
My girls are like me. They love to help make the bread and sneak pinches of the dough. While making the bread, I explain how it is steeped in tradition. We talk about how life was different for my mother, for my grandmother. We wonder what it was like to leave your home for a new country or to live in a time when there wasn't electricity or an oven. I share stories about their grandmother and great-grandmother. It is a fun time.
In addition to the tradition of making the bread, I love the story about what the bread represents. The bread, which is rolled into long ropes, braided, is shaped like a wreath. This is to represent the crown of thorns Christ wore on his head. Colored eggs are then nestled in, representing the new life that Christ brings to us. The bread itself, must raise, just as Christ did.
Here is the recipe if you would like to try it. I am sure your family will love it, too!
Anise Seed Bread~Easter Bread
|Dominick and Mary|