For whatever reason I have never much liked jelly beans. Whatever jelly beans I get in my Easter basket I usually just give away. This Easter might be different though.
This year I have become intrigued by jelly beans. I have heard that jelly-bean producers have come up with some new and more sophisticated flavors. The last time I ate jelly beans the most exotic flavors available were root beer and licorice. Now they offer jelly beans flavored like "draft beer" and "buttered popcorn." The "draft beer" jelly bean, according to the marketers, is “inspired by a Hefeweizen ale with a clean, crisp and wheaty taste.” Of the "buttered popcorn" jelly bean they claim, "Even the late Orville was a fan." Really? Hmmm...
As I said, I'm intrigued. I'm imagining a team of Oompa Loompas who had to give up a lot of weekends and quality time with their families to come up with a way to put those flavors in a jelly bean.
Even more intriguing, I have been told that there can be such a thing as jelly bean synergy. That is, combining flavors, eating two or more kinds of jelly beans at the same time, can produce an effect greater than the sum of the individual beans. For example, I'm told that if you simultaneously eat one cream-soda jelly bean with one chocolate-pudding bean and two cappuccino beans, it will taste like tiramisu. Likewise, combining two cinnamon and two lemon with one orange-juice bean will simulate the effect of drinking spiced tea. It's virtual reality via jelly beans. What other culinary delights might be possible if only I can hit on the right combination?
Easter inspired all of this. It's really great.
There is a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins called "God's Grandeur." It begins, "The world is charged with the grandeur of a God." I have been meditating upon that poem in preparation for Easter. The poem goes on to say, "Nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things."
Through the years, every day celebrating the Eucharist, gazing every day upon the Consecrated Host, the Glorified Body of Jesus, in the company of angels and mortals, has helped me to marvel at things, all creation and re-creation, even jelly beans, once too sickeningly sweet for me, now fashioned and tasted in a new way, more.
Jesus says, "Behold, I make all things new." Elated Easter wishes and prayers to you – ever more glorious things, robust hope, and the holy life-blood of divine love. Thank you good people of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.