Easter, the most important principal holiday for Christians. Christians everywhere remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I, and millions of other Christians will meditate, pray, fast, remember and celebrate Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
As a cook of international food fare, I want to plan my own Easter Menu but I keep coming up empty, okay except for ham. So I got to thinking…dangerous, I know, but I do have some food cooking experiences in my suitcase of recipes.
Imagine celebrating Easter in Italy now, with the new Pope- Pope Francis. He will be leading a procession explaining the Passion of Christ. Of course, this Pope may or may not celebrate this ritual as other Popes have in the past. This few week old Pope does not do business as usual. I have read that he will be washing the feet of 12 young detainees instead of the ritual of washing priests feet.
In terms of Easter food, it is customary in Italy that a family makes a frittata, similar to our omelet. In addition to the frittata, try a Roasted Baby Lamb. Add eggs in everything and round out the menu with the very popular bread, we know here in America during the Christmas holiday, as Panetone- a rich feast sweet bread.
Roasted Baby Lamb, Frittata, Easter Eggs, and Panetone
How about Spain? Semana Santa or Holy Week and the most important occasion in all of Spain. Parades and Festivals enacting the Passion. Street rituals that include waving Palm branches, are significant because palms welcome Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, right before his death.
If you want to enact a traditional Spanish menu, you might want to include Garbanzos and Spinach, Cod, a Paella and if you like garlic, a garlic soup. Round it out with some rice pudding and a sweet bread called Torrijas, a bread similar to our french toast.
Spanish Easter Menu
Fish or Lamb, Garbanzos beans and Spinach, Garlic Soup, Rice Pudding, Torrijas
A few years back, our family was able to celebrate a traditional Russian Easter. Our Russian study happen to be perfectly dated so that we could share with neighbors and friends a Russian Easter meal. Eggs ARE the thing in Russia. My daughter and I decorated eggs with all sorts of beautiful vibrant colors and designs. I made blini (a mini pancake) with salmon and caviar atop and a wonderfully rich Easter cake (Kulich)- a sweet cake made with lots of eggs and butter and studded with raisins and fruit. I also worked hard on a Borsht- a beet and meat soup, and a beautifully decorated salad made with LOTS of eggs, radishes and cucumbers. It was a feast to culminate the ending of Lent and celebrate the entering of the Easter Season.
Russian Easter Menu
Borst, Russian Salad, Blini, Kulich, Easter Eggs, Champagne
Imagine with me for a moment, going to the third largest Carnival in the world, after Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival and New Orléans Carnival. Think about it, if you are in Mexico now, the work week shuts down and what follows are processions, festivities, and church masses. These rituals reign prominent as you remember the last supper, foot washing, tribunal, and death and resurrection of Christ. Then if one week is not enough, Mexicans take the 2nd week off to celebrate Easter week, going to beaches and vacation destinations.
All that festivity and processing will leave you very thirsty and hungry. Along the paths of the Carnivals are food booths selling carnival treats. So start with Aguas Frescas, a sweet fruity water drink laced with flavors like, pineapple, tamarind, or melon. Hungry? try an empanada-meat stuffed pastries or the sweet kind-fruit filled pastries.
Mexican Easter Menu
Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice), Tamales, Rice and Beans, Horchata (a Rice Sugar Cold Milk Drink), Empanadas
So that leaves me with my traditional Christian Easter. We prepare for Easter starting with an Ash Wednesday service, the service that begins the season of Lent- a time of reflection, alms-giving to the poor and fasting. Holy Week is now. Tonight is a service of foot washing and the last supper.
Sunday will be Easter and we will celebrate with a very early sunrise service to follow with an Easter Breakfast with lots of eggs, egg casseroles and fruit. More services in the later morning to celebrate that Christ is Risen!
Now, the Easter meal. The typical Easter tradition includes lots of deviled eggs, ham, lamb, and Easter Eggs in our parts. But one thing is sure: we can throw down in the South. We can make the best ham and colored eggs anywhere. I am guessing you can say the same.
My Easter Menu
Ham, Hashbrown Casserole, Martha’s Corn, Broccoli Salad, Easter Eggs
Whatever the celebration, do it with passion! Have a wonderful Easter and will see you next week!