There are no jellybeans in England. There are no marshmallow peeps either. Easter just wasn’t the same without them.
It was hard enough celebrating Easter away from family and loved ones. The lack of decent candy just added insult to injury. The English don’t even have the cute little egg colouring kits the kids love (I’m one of those aforementioned kids, of course). In their stead, we had to buy this strange Santa Claus (I kid you not) colouring kit that included magic markers, but no dye, and no vinegar; in the end, we didn’t even colour eggs. It would have been too pathetic an exercise. And, needless to say, it rained for part of the day. So I was left without jellybeans, without peeps, without coloured eggs, and with an umbrella. It’s a wonder I got through the day at all.
On Saturday, Richard Haynes, Josh Burson, Liz Lee and I bought ham, vegetables, potatoes, bread, two cakes, hors d’oeuvres and wine for Sunday dinner. (One note on language: we did not officially eat “ham,” we ate “gammon,” which, as far as my taste buds are concerned, is ham.)
We even got pineapple for the hamgammon, but no jellybeans. The closest we came to any familiar Easter candy were Cadbury cream eggs, which are wonderful, but which aren’t as wonderful as jellybeans.
The four of us decided that we would sit for dinner at about two o’clock in the afternoon. I had gone to church Saturday night; Richard, Josh and Liz all went to services on Sunday morning. So two o’clock seemed like a good idea. Or at least that was the plan. The plan was predicated on Richard’s belief that the ham would only take 30 minutes to cook. When we realised that it would take over two hours to cook the ham, the plan changed. We then decided to eat at six.
Unfortunately, because of the time change, Liz couldn’t come to dinner. James Winfield, a student at Exeter College who lives with us, also couldn’t make dinner because of the new time. Jon Kravis ’99, who is at Exeter doing post grad work this year, was able to come, though. Vicki Phillips came back during the day, and Becky Wiener came to visit. In the end, it turned out that we had six people for dinner after all.
Dinner itself was fun. As it turned out, Richard, Josh and I discovered culinary skills we never knew we had. The only thing we did misjudge was how much we were going to eat. It looks like we’ll be eating ham sandwiches for weeks to come, as well as carrots, broccoli, pineapple, cheese and potatoes.
The only thing we didn’t have any trouble finishing off was the carrot cake and the tangy lemon cake. We even had – and still have – our fair share of Cadbury cream eggs left. While I normally would have saved room for jellybeans and peeps, I was full after dinner.
After dinner activities included playing bridge and watching The Ice Storm and Quiz Show. Not exactly your normal Easter activities, but sans jellybeans, how can we even purport to talk about “normal Easter activities?” That said, Easter isn’t about jellybeans at all. I don’t for a second think that it is. Jellybeans just happen to be an added benefit.
So in spite of some difficult circumstances, Easter turned out to be a success. I think all of us here would agree. But if anyone at Williams wants to send some jellybeans or marshmallow peeps over to the Ephraim Williams House (that’s 145 Banbury Rd., Oxford OX2 7AN, United Kingdom), we’d be most appreciative.