Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Story Cookies

This recipe is from a friend whose small children look forward to making these every year. Not only do you get delicious meringue cookies but a delightful way to really help children connect with the main points of the Easter story.

1 c. whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
Pinch salt
1 c. sugar

also need: Zipper baggie, Wooden spoon, Tape, Bible

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Place the pecans in a zipper baggie and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon to break them into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, the Roman soldiers beat him. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears that were shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add the 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalms 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.


Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in deep despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter and Food

Easter foods are primarily those of Easter Sunday, the day on which Jesus rose from the dead, a day of special rejoicing for Christians, who rejoice too at reaching the end of the long Lenten fast. This time also marks the beginning of spring, the season of renewal, and a cause for general rejoicing. The concept of renewal/rebirth is responsible for the important role played the by egg in Easter celebrations, a role which no doubt antedates Christianity...

In Europe, there is a general tradition, not confined to Christians, that Easter is the time to start eating the season's new lamb, which is just coming onto the market then. For Christians there is the added symbolic significance that Jesus is regarded as the lamb of God. In Britain, a leg, shoulder, or saddle is roasted at this time and served with new potatoes and mint sauce. For the French, a roast leg of lamb, the gigot pascal (pascal and the English paschal refer equally to the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter), is the traditional Easter Sunday lunch. In Italy, too, and Greece baby lamb or kid, plainly roasted, is a favourite Easter dish.

Easter breads, cakes, and biscuits are a major category of Easter foods, perhaps especially noticeable in the predominantly roman Catholic countries of S. and C. Europe (and in E. Europe where the influence of the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches hold sway), but prominent too in N. Europe and in Christian countries or communities outside Europe. Traditional breads are laden with symbolism in their shapes, which may make reference to Christian faith -- crosses, fish, and lambs -- or be relics from pagan practices -- hares, eggs, and the cylinder shapes of E. European breads. In general they are not as rich as the Christmas breads, using less butter, sugar, and fruit, although eggs are freely used.
No mention here of the chocolate bunny or the Easter basket which I suppose aren't technically Easter foods but definitely are special foods for Easter! In years past, when we have had to resort to providing an extra bowl of jellybeans, chocolate eggs, and malted milk eggs to keep dinner guests out of the family Easter basket.

For this year's feast we are serving about 10 people. One year I had ham instead of lamb and was given mournful looks from a variety of regulars. Never again, I promise!

Pimiento Cheese

Grilled Lamb
Creamed Jalapeno Spinach
Mom's Tortellini Salad
Green Salad with a Dijon-Anchovy Vinaigrette
Deviled Eggs
Potato Rolls
Red Wine
(we won't go into how many bottles)

A bowl of fresh strawberries and a plate of chocolate truffles