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Elizabeth Woodworth: White House Easter eggs have been rolling since 1878

By Elizabeth Woodworth
Contributing writer
updated: 4/19/2019 11:18 AM

Between now and the first of May, most dandelions go to seed along the 40th Parallel. The Cows Switching Their Tails Moon is full on the 19th, combining with the April 21 cold front to bring flurries and a freeze to the northern two thirds of the U.S. Flea season has begun for pets and livestock. April 21 is the Roman Easter. Aphid infestations move north. Weevils emerge in alfalfa. The second major tornado period of April begins now, lasting most years until April 27. (Countryside)

Passover begins at sundown on the 19th.

Eldorado Truck Load sale is Wednesday, May 22, 7 a.m. til sold out, same church parking lot.

What's your favorite Easter candy? 29 percent polled said chocolate bunnies; 28 percent, crème eggs; 28 percent, jelly beans; and 15 percent marshmallow chicks (Peeps). Favorite jelly bean flavors are red (cherry), black (licorice) and pink (strawberry). 72 percent of people polled eat the dyed Easter eggs. Don't know if the rest don't dye real eggs, or if they just throw them away. 89 percent eat the bunny ears first.

How do you like your chocolate eggs? 16 percent say hollow; 32 percent say solid; 52 percent say filled with caramel, peanut butter or chocolate cream.

Easter tip: For easier-to-peel eggs, try steaming instead of hard-boiling. Place a steamer basket in a pot with an inch of water; bring to a boil Add cold eggs, cover, and cook for 12 minutes. Transfer to an ice-water bath to cool. Post-holiday, the shells will slip right off.

Cadbury Crème Eggs have been around since 1971, but fans of the Easter treat (and there are many -- about 80 million crème eggs are sold in the U.S. every year) still can't agree on the best way to eat it. Traditionalists prefer to bite off the tops, then eat the gooey inside. Rather like eating a soft-boiled egg, leaving the shell, and best part, till last. Others, me included, try to get a bit of chocolate with every bite of crème. However you eat it, it's good!

How the White House rolls: Since 1878, the Monday after Easter has been a huge day at the White House, when thousands of children push eggs across the lawn with spoons in the annual Easter Egg Roll. Here's how the weird, wonderful tradition started. In 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes invites kids to roll eggs at the White House after the tradition was banned on Capitol Hill because it messed up the grass. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison asks the U.S. Marine Band, directed by John Philip Sousa, to play at the event. Many years later, Sousa writes a song called "Easter Monday on the White House Lawn."

In 1917, World War I rationing put the kibosh on the Easter Egg Roll and it doesn't start up again until 1921. In 1928, Grace Coolidge's pet raccoon, Rebecca, attends the party. Other animal attendees over the years included Benjamin Harrison's pony, Warren G. Harding's airedale and during the Carter years, a steer named Big Red. In 1941, Eleanor Roosevelt hosted the biggest White House Easter Egg Roll ever, with 53,248 attendees.

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower brings the Egg Roll back after a decade without it. World War II, and then construction at the White House, had interrupted the tradition. In 1969, one of Pat Nixon's staffers dresses in a white jumpsuit and Peter Rabbit mask, and the Easter Bunny has shown up many times since. (During the George W. Bush administration, Sean Spicer, then an aide, took on the role).

In 1981, Nancy Reagan, who attended the event as a child, works her Hollywood connections to have celebrities sign wooden eggs for children. Wooden eggs go on to be become a sought-after part of every annual roll. In 2016 Beyoncé and Jay-Z attend the Obamas' final Easter Egg Roll. During Barack Obama's years in office, pop stars like Fergie, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber perform for the kids. In 2017, the Trumps' first Easter Egg Roll features storytime, bocce and commemorative eggs -- some painted gold. (Food Network Magazine)

Many foods that seem similar deliver different nutrients. Knowing that difference may help you improve your dietary health without much effort. Which is better for your heart, red (sweet) peppers or green? Red peppers are ripened green peppers and pack far more nutrients for just that reason. Loaded with beta-carotene, just a half-cup of red peppers delivers more that 100 percent of your recommended daily does of vitamin C. (They are sweeter, but cost more.)

Walnuts vs pecans: Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids; studies have shown that they reduce total cholesterol and may even make you smarter by increasing "inferential reasoning," signaling a boost for the brain. (I am a pecan girl and always will be.)

Happy Easter! May your basket be filled with goodies you remember fondly from your childhood.

• Elizabeth Woodworth lives in Harrisburg.