Traditional Easter Foods
Easter is nearly here, and with it comes not only fluffy bunnies and sunrise church services, but a wide array of traditional foods. Each region of the world has it’s own special Easter dishes, including the Italian “Colomba” (sweet bread), Irish pancakes, and Greek Mayiritsa soup. In the United States and Canada, Easter food traditions from around the world are embraced, often mixing foods from several regions and the old with the new. Here are a few traditional ideas for your coming Easter meal.
Hot Cross Buns
Supposedly, in the early days of Christianity church leaders took wheat cakes and blessed them for Easter. Now we call these “hot cross buns” – any bun with an X or cross across the top. Any favorite bun or bread recipe will do for hot cross buns. Just be sure, when the buns have risen, to use a serrated knife to slash a cross on top before baking. Sometimes, in lieu of this, frosting crosses are piped across the top of baked buns.
Lamb of any sort, but especially roast lamb, is an Easter tradition going all the way back before the first Easter. Lamb helps Jewish and Christian people remember when God saved his chosen people from Egyptian slavery by having them place the blood of a sacrificial lamb over their doorways. To Christians, Jesus is the ultimate “Passover Lamb,” so it seems natural lamb became a popular Easter food all through the old world.
Try one of Gourmandia’s lamb recipes on video this Easter.
Particularly in the United States, ham is a common Easter food. This probably goes back to the days when most Americans cured their own meat. Pigs slaughtered in the autumn weren’t fully cured until around Easter time.
With ham or lamb in the oven and hot cross buns ready to go, there are a wide variety of traditional Easter dishes you could make. Mashed potatoes are commonly found on Easter tables in the U.S. Some sort of vegetable is most often seen – often in-season asparagus or a green bean dish.
Sometimes dessert consists merely of dyed, hard boiled Easter eggs. Orthodox Christians prefer them in red, symbolizing life. Chocolate dishes are another favorite, especially if Lent (the week before Easter) has included fasting or abstaining from sweets. Cakes are also popular Easter desserts.