The Saturday before Easter is generally celebrated by my family as the night of the “pies”.

Officially it’s Holy Saturday, and we’ll also be already into Passover; but my family gets all the traditional Easter pies ready; along with a few other things.
There’s the traditional “pizza rustica” or “pizza chiena” as they say in dialect, filled with cheese, egg, and God knows how many kinds of salami.

Next we have spaghetti pie; which is just a pie filled with spaghetti and some cheese and lard filling.

This bumps the cholesterol count up about a thousand percent.

We have scarole pie, which as you can imagine, is filled with plenty of scarole, plus raisins and capers, layered with a flaky crust.

Pie Saturday wouldn’t be complete without a serving of broccoli rabe and sausage stuffed into a loaf of crispy Italian bread.

Ooff! My stomach is aching.

Then for dessert, there’s “pizza gran” or grain pie, which is made from cooked barley, ricotta cheese, and dried fruit.

And panettone, the sweet bread adorned with eggs, and usually eaten like a cake.
This is just a taste of what goes on around the table pre-Pasqua, but what would Easter be without Peeps?

flikr user Wolfrage
flikr user Wolfrage

The popularity of Peeps is still growing after 60 years.

As the candy brand celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, Peeps’ first TV ad in a decade captures an essential truth about the candy made of sugar, corn syrup and gelatin: People do all sorts of things with Peeps, only some of which involve giving them to kids at Easter or eating them straight from the box.

“Everyone seems to have a Peeps story,” says Ross Born, third-generation operator of Just Born Inc., which hatches 5 million Peeps a day at its plant 60 miles north of Philadelphia. “And they are free and willing to talk about how they eat their Peeps, how they cure them, how they store them, how they decorate with them. And these are adults!”

Just Born calls it the “Peepsonality” of consumers who buy Peeps not only to eat, but also to play around with.

“If you had asked me about this 25 years ago, I would’ve been rather bewildered about the whole thing,” Born confesses. “We were candy makers.”

Not that he’s complaining. Just Born had its best year financially in 2012.

His grandfather, Russian immigrant Sam Born, started the candy company out of a Brooklyn storefront 90 years ago. Born advertised the freshness of his product with a sign that said “Just Born.” The name stuck.

So many others to think of. And so many to choose from that make the holidays special.

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