Easter Candy and Me – It’s Complicated
How do I describe my relationship with Easter candy? Well, it’s complicated.
When I was growing up, Easter was mostly a secular holiday for my family, and while I liked the bunny theme, especially when I had real bunnies, my favorite part was the candy. Chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, jelly beans, robin’s eggs, Reese’s eggs, and my favorite – Cadbury Creme Eggs.
Changes to the Easter Basket
When I was little, I was always eager to see what I had in my Easter basket, but that changed as I got older and heavier. Food in general became problematic, but holidays proved especially trying.
On Easter, for instance, although surrounded by candy, I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat it. That fueled my stealth eating, and I’d find ways to stash the candy so I could have it when no one was watching.
And this entry from my mom’s diary on April 18, 1992, when I was almost 16 and my brother 18, highlighted another part of the problem: “Finalized Easter shopping. Got Erica mostly sugarless candy and a Jim Morrison book. Got Jeremiah regular candy, a cream roll, chips, and $5 for when he goes to [his aunt’s].” (Yes, I was a huge fan of the Doors as a teen.)
I hated that difference in treatment. It made it seem like my brother was perfect, at least in terms of food, whereas I was the problem child. I know my mom was concerned about my health, but it infuriated me. Plus, the sugar-free stuff was no substitute for the real thing, especially when I watched my brother eat his candy and other goodies.
It all just meant I found yet more ways of sneaking sweets.
So you might imagine my delight when, as a junior in college, I did a study abroad in England and suddenly found Cadbury chocolates everywhere. Vending machines almost exclusively had Cadbury candy bars, and I was so excited to have the opportunity to visit Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. (The fact that I didn’t even know Cadbury World existed before going to England didn’t dampen my enthusiasm.)
The whole place was a lot of fun, with a tour of the history of chocolate, and of course, plenty of chocolates to taste along the way. But my favorite part was at the end when we got to the store, and I saw bins full of my favorite Cadbury Creme Eggs.
Since it was November, I hadn’t expected that at all, and I was ecstatic! I greedily stocked up, albeit surreptitiously, since I was a little embarrassed about my host seeing me with all that candy.
New relationships to food
Once I began to eat mindfully, though, things changed. I started finding certain foods too sweet – something that didn’t seem possible to me before – and that included Cadbury Creme Eggs. I could no longer eat a whole one without feeling a bit sick to my stomach.
Then mini Cadbury Creme Eggs came along, and I thought those were perfect. They gave me the taste I wanted, but not too much of it.
That lasted for a couple of years, but then in 2012, something changed. I went to the store and looked at the mini eggs, planning to buy them out of habit. Except – I realized I didn't want them.
I could still remember loving them when I was younger, a very tactile memory including the intense sweet burst of chocolate shell and gooey, sugary caramel interior. I appreciated the memory, but I had no desire to eat one again, knowing my stomach wouldn’t like it.
These days, I don’t buy much, if anything, for Easter candy. At first, that felt a little sad, almost like losing that connection to my childhood.
Then I realized it wasn't a loss, not truly. I’ll always remember how much I loved Cadbury Creme Eggs and other candy, but now on Easter, I can focus on the themes of rebirth and renewal represented by the eggs. And I’ll still enjoy some sweet things, both from food and my memories.