Sunday, April 8, 2012

Memories of Easter Past and M&Ms CandyRific Easter Egg Dispenser

If Christmas brings back memories of trees and presents, then Easter brings back memories of Easter baskets and eggs (and candy!). In our family my mother would load up a large Easter basket (commercially made - not hand-made) full of candy, colored hard-boiled eggs, and a small toy and hide it somewhere in the house. I wasn't actually supposed to look for mine until my nieces and nephews came over - all of whom had their baskets hidden somewhere in the house as well - but I looked just the same! :-)

If the Christmas tree is the symbol of the Christmas season, then the Easter egg is the symbol of the Easter season. We simply associate brightly colored eggs with Easter. But I gotta tell ya - no matter how hard we tried, our colored eggs just never turned out as bright and as nicely decorated as what was shown on the packages of Easter egg decorating kits! Bummer.  And once you ate the hard-boiled eggs, they gave you gas!! (I think my dad actually enjoyed that part - LOL). But there were other types of eggs. My mother was always into crafts  - I s'pose that's where I get my crafty side - and somewhere around 1960-61 or so she started to make houses and hollow eggs made from shells of hardened sugar. Now, these were definitely not your average easter eggs. They were larger than a real egg, and ranged in size from about 4" (10.2cm) L to perhaps 12" (30.5) L. A  batch of sugar paste was colored using a variety of dyes, then placed in a set of metal molds - one mold for the top, one for the bottom - where it was allowed to harden. The shells were designed with 'portholes' on the front allowing for decorating the interior. She would: decorate the interior of the egg as a miniature Easter Bunny home; then, using cake frosting in a frosting tube,  piped it onto the edge of the bottom half to act as glue and joined the top half to the bottom. Next, using frosting, she would decorate the exterior of the egg and apply a sheet of clear cellophane over the opening in front to make it appear like a window. Houses were made in a similar fashion but placed on a decorated base. I can still remember her working on these little gems - and I also remember her getting quite frustrated when one of the shells would break upon removal from the mold!! The photos below date from about 1963 and are all that we have as a record of these efforts.

2011 CandyRific M&Ms Easter Egg Dispenser
(Courtesy of Alice C. & ManMan)

Well, now let's bring it up to the present - more or less. This nifty little M&Ms dispenser from CandyRific is in the shape of an Easter Egg and was a 2011 offering (this year's M&Ms dispenser's are miniature gumball machines). It's brightly colored and decorated and features a spring loaded mechanism for releasing M&Ms from the hollow 'egg' - just press down on the top and a trap door opens allowing the candy to drop to the tray at the bottom. The top of the 'egg' comes off allowing the hopper to be refilled. Enjoy!