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


Jenny Colvin said...

So basically...

"Lamb of God"



Julie D. said...

You are TOO clever! Love it! That day is a two-fer. Once at church and then again at home. :-D