Watch out butter lamb

Posted 3/20/24

Cooking is a passion of Hubby’s, and he wants to get it right. Because his mom had always cooked corned beef with potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, Hubby did also, although on our “no …

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Watch out butter lamb


Cooking is a passion of Hubby’s, and he wants to get it right. Because his mom had always cooked corned beef with potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, Hubby did also, although on our “no carb” diet, potatoes are not allowed.  This year I convinced him not to throw in a whole pound of potatoes, but to just toss in a few, enabling us to waste less. It was a really good meal! However, the left over corned beef from Saint Patrick’s Day is no sooner sitting in the fridge than Hubby’s change of food focus is on Easter.

Easter was always ham, coated with a classic glaze with pineapples and cherries tooth-picked to its side. He would also make scalloped potatoes along with sautéed asparagus and chilled beets. Homemade dinner rolls would complete this meal, which would be followed by a yummy pie purchased from the bakery at Dave’s Marketplace. While Hubby enjoys cooking in general, holiday cooking is his piece de resistance.

Easter in other countries may include foods not traditionally seen here in the United States.  In Italy, pizza chiena (stuffed pizza) is traditionally baked and served on Good Friday.  This hearty, savory pie is filled with a variety of cheeses and cured meats and baked to perfection.  It was developed in the 17th century as a treat to break the long, 40 day Lenten fast.

 Australians do not celebrate Easter with chocolate bunnies, but with chocolate bilbies resembling the long-eared rabbit-like mammal native to Australia. Like other more familiar mammals in this country, this one is also a marsupial, and carries its  young in a pouch.  Due to disease, habitat destruction and predators, this beloved animal is now restricted to the more arid parts of the country. Somewhat resembling an Easter rabbit, this candy is a delight for old and young at Easter time.

 In Poland and parts of Russia and Slovenia, it is common tradition to have a butter lamb as the main focus of the dinner table on Easter. This is simply a huge chunk of butter molded to look like a lamb, which is symbolic of the start of spring, and also represents the saying “Lamb of God”.  Even as much as I love butter, it would seem sacrilegious to gouge a knifefull of butter for a mere dinner roll.

 Patsas, or tripe soup, is a traditional Greek soup made with lamb’s stomach which is usually eaten at midnight to break the fasting and usher in Easter morning. It is also reportedly a hangover cure, something which coats the stomach to counteract the effect of alcohol, coming in handy after a Friday night of partying.

Fanesca is a Lenten soup served during Holy Week in Latin America. This consists of twelve different types of beans, dried salted cod, squash, corn, rice, onions, garlic, peas and milk. Somehow that combination does not appeal to me. This soup is embroiled in symbolic religious meaning: the twelve different types of beans represent the twelve apostles and the cod represents Jesus, (because he was a cod fisherman?)

The strangest Easter foods I found are served in Colombia: iguanas, turtles and rodents, including the capybara which is the world’s largest rodent and often the size of a pig. They feast on these exotic creatures in the spring when they become more active, which also coincides with Easter. Iguana or turtle stew is typically served with coconut rice, fried yucca and cold beer.

 Perhaps it is better to focus on more traditional Easter foods eaten in America, like jello salad.  My mother used a mold to make jello filled with pineapples and cherries, (perhaps to use up the pineapples and cherries that did not fit on the ham.) Hot Cross Buns, along with the being the subject of a perky children’s song, were also enjoyed, packed with tangy dried fruit and warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.  These would be the perfect foe for the butter lamb.  Southerners tend to enjoy broccoli salad at Easter, with crunchy broccoli, dried cranberries and raisins, bacon and cheese. I enjoy this treat when Hubby makes it with cold slaw dressing.

I am so lucky that Hubby enjoys planning and cooking holiday meals!  Let’s see…my birthday is coming up and there is only one thing I enjoy for my birthday dinner, lobster with plenty of butter.  Watch out butter lamb…


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