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Hallo again to all.

Alleluia, Christ is risen! We have made it through Lent, Holy Week, and Easter morn. Now it's time to eat.

Perhaps more than any other Christian holiday, the celebration of Easter has traditionally involved a special Easter meal. Traditions vary, but in our experience Easter dinner is a big festive meal served at home, with a menu that rarely varies from year to year. In the family tradition of one of our distant relatives, the menu always included a roasted goat, with the prized goat's head reserved for the grandparents. If you visit a butcher shop in southern Europe during Lent, you will probably see a display of goat heads for sale. These are intended more for making Easter soup than for roasting. After Pentecost, you will have a hard time finding goat's heads for sale anywhere.

Some foods were, by tradition, eaten only in Holy Week or Easter. Hot cross buns, for example, were traditionally eaten on Good Friday rather than Easter Sunday, and in 1592 in London there was issued a decree forbidding their sale except on Good Friday, Christmas, or at burials. Less than a decade ago we saw toffee-flavoured hot cross buns offered at Sainsbury's (a British supermarket) in September. Revenue is the ultimate tradition.

Many families' Easter traditions involve lamb rather than goat, perhaps made into a shepherd's pie served beside roast cabbage. Toasted Simnel cake first appeared in Britain for Laetare Sunday, but it is now common as an Easter delicacy. If you are looking for evidence to support your fears that tradition is dead, note that the BBC suggests 'Sea bass roasted with rosemary and lemon' as an Easter recipe.

The Easter meal traditions from every corner of the Anglican world all involve eggs, usually hard-boiled and decorated or deviled. (The name 'deviled' or 'devilled' to describe stuffed eggs did not appear in print before 1786.) Eggs are such an obvious symbol of rebirth, and they are tasty.

In many and diverse places, an Easter dinner menu usually includes ham, often glazed with fancy ingredients, served with relatively low-key side dishes such as cheesy potatoes. Lamb is not unknown in those Easter menus, but culturally some seem more comfortable with ham than lamb.

A traditional Easter meal for vegetarians might include eggplant, quiche, salad, and fresh fruit. A thousand years ago at Eastertide in the northern hemisphere there was no salad or fresh fruit available on this first Sunday after the first Monday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, but a thousand years ago there weren't any Anglican vegetarians to care.

There are Easter sweets and breads on the menu in every Christian community, and they vary widely. Kulich, pacoca, koullourakia, love knots, and pannetone are just a few of these high-carbohydrate delights. Since our doctor told us not to eat sweets or sweetened breads, we shan't tempt ourselves further by naming any more. But your local baker should have some.

What is your traditional meal when you get home from church on Easter Sunday? Let us and our readers know.

See you next week.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

5 April 2015




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