Each spring, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the return of life after the long winter.
And as with all celebrations, families gather to share a meal and time together.
Children in their new suits and Sunday dresses hunt for Easter eggs, which symbolize new life and a new beginning, and the family sits down to enjoy a traditional feast of glazed ham or roasted lamb.
In the United States,
ham is a traditional Easter food. In the early days, meat
was slaughtered in the fall. There was no refrigeration, and the fresh pork that wasn't consumed during the winter months before Lent was cured for spring. The curing process took a long time, and the first hams were ready around the time Easter rolled around.
Thus, ham was a natural choice for the celebratory Easter dinner.
roast lamb goes back earlier than Easter to the first Passover of the Jewish people. The sacrificial
lamb was roasted and eaten, together with unleavened bread
and bitter herbs in hopes that the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring no harm. As Hebrews converted to Christianity, they naturally brought along their traditions with them. The Christians often refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God. Thus, the
There are many different sides that can be served with the ham or lamb; such as au gratin or scalloped potatoes,
sweet potatoes, stuffing, dressing, risotto, polenta or pasta to name a few.
In different parts of the world and the USA there are many versions of this traditional meal to be found.
But for the purpose of this article we will stay with a menu of ham, scalloped potatoes and creamed peas.
Glazed Easter Ham
1 6-pound cooked ham half
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup prepared Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Score the ham by cutting diagonal lines 1/4 inch deep into
the fat to form a diamond pattern. Place the ham fat side up in a shallow roasting pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Mix the brown sugar, maple syrup, and mustard in a small bowl. Brush the ham with
half of the brown sugar mixture and return to the oven. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, and then brush with the remaining brown sugar mixture. Continue to bake for 15-20 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer reads 140 degrees. Let the ham rest for 15
minutes before slicing.
Makes 12 servings.
6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, minced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
10 medium potato, peeled and sliced
Preheat oven to 375 F. In 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, in hot butter, cook onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and salt until
blended; cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in 1/2 cup shredded cheese. In shallow 2-quart casserole, arrange half of the potato slices; pour half of the sauce
on top; sprinkle with half of remaining cheese; repeat Bake covered 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.
Makes 12 servings