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gulfporter

Easter Food Traditions Growing Up

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Growing up, the main courses were ham and kielbasa (pretty much any holiday was ham and kielbasa for my Lithuanian-American family).  Always with beet-red horseradish.  The main side dish was kugeli (baked potato cake with salt pork).   And also a cucumber salad with sour cream, green onions and dill.  

 

Easter morning after church we'd carry our eggs (color: all the same reddish brown from onion skins) around the neighborhood for 'egg cracking.'  It was fun, but also a bit cutthroat, especially for the men.

 

Any eggs we had after the egg cracking were immediately put into a large glass crock with vinegar and beet sliced to be eaten in a few days, once well pickled.    

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Easter morning after church we'd carry our eggs (color: all the same reddish brown from onion skins) around the neighborhood for 'egg cracking.'

What is egg cracking?

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Easter this year we will have over a friend and her Father (he turned 99 yesterday) and the meal will be mostly for his pleasure.  He was born in Malang, Java of Dutch parentage but settled in South Africa during WWII when he was not allowed into England with his English wife.  His daughter, my friend, moved to Canada many years ago and much later her parents followed.

 

So dessert is already picked:  Melk Tert and I had rather thought of Bobotie for the main course.  All suggestions welcomed.

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Lamb was our main dish....which horrified my husband when we married and I offered to make the dinner.  I was excoriated severely that that was NOT what his family ate.

 

Asparagus for sure.  If it was late enough it was wild asparagus we gathered.

 

Since I was so sick as a small child we usually hunted for eggs inside .... and didn't always find them all.

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Easter this year we will have over a friend and her Father (he turned 99 yesterday) and the meal will be mostly for his pleasure.  He was born in Malang, Java of Dutch parentage but settled in South Africa during WWII when he was not allowed into England with his English wife.  His daughter, my friend, moved to Canada many years ago and much later her parents followed.

 

So dessert is already picked:  Melk Tert and I had rather thought of Bobotie for the main course.  All suggestions welcomed.

If you're looking beyond the South-African heritage, perhaps these recipes will tickle your fancy:

 

- Dutch-Indonesian hussar salad

- Dutch-Indonesian sambal goreng telor (eggs)

- Indonesian klepon (can look like an egg, rolled in desiccated coconut)

All 3 recipes come from Jeff Keasberry, who's family left Java for The Netherlands and started a restaurant in Amsterdam. 

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Oh and I remember painting eggs with my grandmother. Also a lavishly spread Easter breakfast table with butter shaped as a lamb and stollen with almond paste, currants and powdered sugar on top which I still don't like to eat. Chocolate easter eggs though with various fillings for whenever I could get my hands on them. No recollections whatsoever of Easter dinners somehow...


Edited by CeeCee (log)
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Easter this year we will have over a friend and her Father (he turned 99 yesterday) and the meal will be mostly for his pleasure. He was born in Malang, Java of Dutch parentage but settled in South Africa during WWII when he was not allowed into England with his English wife. His daughter, my friend, moved to Canada many years ago and much later her parents followed.

So dessert is already picked: Melk Tert and I had rather thought of Bobotie for the main course. All suggestions welcomed.

Darienne, I have a recipe for Bobotie, the accompanying yellow rice and Blatjang, a type of chutney that is served with it. It came from the Boschendal winery in South Africa. I have made it and it is very good. If you would like these recipes, let me know.

Elsie


Edited by ElsieD (log)
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What is egg cracking?

 

One person holds an egg in their hand with the pointy end up.  The other person holds their egg in their hand (pointy end down) and taps their egg against the other person's egg.  Only one egg will crack.  The winner gets to keep the other person's (now cracked) egg. 

 

eggcrack.jpg

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ye' olde egg whack wars....

 

here's one - those coconut cream eggs, chocolate covered, highly decorated, hand piped hard icing - small / medium / large . . .

 

Hoffert Candies style - seem to have completely evaporated from the market.... or?

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Pizza Rusitca aka Easter Pie. (I think they call a big rectangular focaccia-like pizza 'pizza rustica' in Rome, but, in the North, PR = Easter Pie.) It's a savory ricotta pie with cheeses, meats, and (at my house) veggies. The crust was a savory short-crust, at my house. There are lots of regional variations on this, including at least 3 different types of crust.

 

Easter Bread, with the embedded eggs.

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I find it very interesting that in the custom of "egg cracking" only one egg will crack. It seems to defy the laws of physics, and the next time I boil eggs, I have an experiment planned to see if my anecdotal results bear it out. Pointy end to pointy end, right?  :smile:

 

My most vivid memory of Easter is from my grandparents homestead when they still lived on their namesake road with the cattle gap entrance and half mile driveway. They had their own chickens and ducks who lived on the pond. They only had an outhouse and a manually operated outdoor and indoor pump for the kitchen. I remember the fireflies at night. We  caught them and put them in aerated jars to keep in our bedrooms as nightlights, then released them the next morning.

 

I have no idea what we had for Easter dinner (it's a good bet that whatever it was was raised right there), but I still recall the egg hunt. I couldn't have been more than six, probably  five. Fresh eggs from the chickens and ducks (huge) were boiled and colored by the adults, then hidden, and me and my siblings and cousins, easily a hundred of us were turned loose to hunt them on the property.

 

Now I'm sure this practice is unsanitary with all the animals running loose on the property, but we're all still alive and healthy, at least most of the youngest of us, and no one got sick from the eggs from the hunt.

 

Nowadays, I tend to have ham or leg of lamb for Easter.

 

About a decade ago, I got some beautiful, thick, bone-in, skin-on salmon steaks from Fresh Market and grilled them. My husband and I still talk about how good they were to this day. One of our local groceries debones salmon steaks and ties them with string. I have tried to explain to no avail how they are ruining a glorious foodstuff. The bones add flavor, protect the meat from overcooking, and are SO easy to just flick away with a fork once the fish is cooked. I actually suck on them to get every last bit of flavor. A celebration of spring.

 

I love asparagus for Easter as another celebration of spring.

 

One year our neighbors to whom we gave surplus produce from our garden gave us a braided bread with boiled and colored eggs baked into the top for Easter. Like this: https://www.google.com/search?q=italian+easter+bread&espv=2&biw=1097&bih=546&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=jqoLVbitFoH_gwSAs4SADA&ved=0CCgQ7Ak

 

He was a chef at a local restaurant, and this was really, really good. I was afraid the eggs would be overcooked after being boiled and then baked, but apparently, he was knowledgeable enough to compensate, so the eggs were perfect, and so was the bread. Very memorable.

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I find it very interesting that in the custom of "egg cracking" only one egg will crack. It seems to defy the laws of physics, and the next time I boil eggs, I have an experiment planned to see if my anecdotal results bear it out. Pointy end to pointy end, right?  :smile:

 

Yes, point to point.....and no fair hitting below the point, on the side.  Most 'hit-ees' make a fist around their egg up to their point to keep that from happening.  

 

My first Easter at my new in-laws introduced me to lamb, and to meat served rare.  Never tasted lamb before that and any meat cooked by my family wasn't considered done until the meat turned a suitable gray.  

 

My in-laws hid eggs around their yard for the hunt; my family hid the entire Easter basket, indoors.  

 

Easter 'duty' was the one day a year my father went to mass (the rest of us went weekly).  Back home after Easter mass, the fast was broken with ham (what else!) and eggs and a shot of my grandmother's homemade hooch.  Then off to the egg cracking.  

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I grew up on Strawberry Hill in Kansas City.  Many of the people there were of Croatian descent and every Easter someone in the neighborhood would give us a loaf of Povitica bread, a traditional holiday nut bread. The closest way describe it is that it's like baklava but is a nut paste in a sweet yeast bread instead of phylo.  It was a real treat that I have always associated with Easter.

 

Mom always made a ham. i don't remember real eggs playing a large part of our family tradition.


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
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"---I find it very interesting that in the custom of "egg cracking" only one egg will crack. It seems to defy the laws of physics,---"

 

Not really. 

 

​According to the law of physics, when two objects collide, identical force will be acting on both objects.

 

Why only one egg will crack?

 

Because it is not possible to have two identical eggs.

 

Happy Easter!

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)
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Growing up, the main courses were ham and kielbasa (pretty much any holiday was ham and kielbasa for my Lithuanian-American family).  Always with beet-red horseradish.  The main side dish was kugeli (baked potato cake with salt pork).   And also a cucumber salad with sour cream, green onions and dill.  

 

Easter morning after church we'd carry our eggs (color: all the same reddish brown from onion skins) around the neighborhood for 'egg cracking.'  It was fun, but also a bit cutthroat, especially for the men.

 

Any eggs we had after the egg cracking were immediately put into a large glass crock with vinegar and beet sliced to be eaten in a few days, once well pickled.    

I wish my family pickled the eggs we "eppered" with!

Our food was blessed on Sat., and therefore, every single crumb had to be eaten. My love of epper exceeded my stomach capacity!

Keilbasa-fresh and smoked, with put-hair-on-your-chest-hot horseradish on the side

Rye bread

Lamb butter with peppercorn eyes and a little red bow

Ham

HB eggs

Probably some sort of Jello mold :laugh:

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Easter food memories are fuzzy though we always celebrated it.  Get dressed up for church then come home and have sunday breakfast, with little easter themed egg cups at our place settings filled with jelly beans and mini chocolate eggs. I saw my mom yesterday and she said 'the usual' lamb and asparagus for dinner this year, though I'm sure sometimes there was ham.  My older brother's birthday sometimes coincides with Easter, as it does this year, so sometimes it would be a combo easter/birthday.  Maybe that's why I don't remember a traditional dessert, it was birthday cake or easter candy.  Egg hunt was indoors, with Brown & Haley mountain bars and/or Cadbury creme eggs hidden around the house.  We did dye chicken eggs, but only hunted for chocolate ones.

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Well, of course, it was no surprise to me to read here about the ongoing traditions of the Paschal Lamb by those who have posted on this topic. Easter always coincides (more or less) with the Jewish Passover. The Last Supper was a Passover gathering for Jesus & his disciples and they would have eaten lamb as their religious tradition dictated. Evidently the Judeo-Christian world perpetuates this divine tradition. However, when I lived in France I noticed that roast kid (goat) was often substituted for the Paschal Lamb.

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If you're looking beyond the South-African heritage, perhaps these recipes will tickle your fancy:

 

- Dutch-Indonesian hussar salad

- Dutch-Indonesian sambal goreng telor (eggs)

- Indonesian klepon (can look like an egg, rolled in desiccated coconut)

All 3 recipes come from Jeff Keasberry, who's family left Java for The Netherlands and started a restaurant in Amsterdam. 

 

Thanks for this. We're going to the inlaws -- he is Dutch and he's cooking this year, so it's an Indonesian Ristaffel potluck and I'm supposed to bring an Indonesian vegetable dish.  Never cooked anything Indonesian in all my puff, so may try the salad.  

 

Growing up in our WASP American family, we had either a ham or sometimes a lamb roast with sweet mint jelly out of a jar. Always asparagus. Always a plate of black California olives with the holes. Always soft dinner rolls.  Probably my mom's fruit salad with pineapple juice sabayon.  Dessert would be -- if we were very lucky -- a homemade cake with coconut frosting, or my grandmother's Angel Food cake with pink glaze.  Eggs would have been decorated by the kids in the family earlier in the day, but they would only appear as part of the decorations and would be made into egg salad the next day or creamed eggs on toast (I still love that -- can't get my own family to eat it). 

 

The Greek family always had died red eggs, some baked into the braided Easter bread.  Leg of lamb with garlic roasted to death served with orzo tossed in the jus.  Asparagus because it was spring, but also a bitter horta (boiled greens), probably escarole.  Dessert  would be the men's favorite galopita (milk, eggs, semolina pudding with syrup) and Greek coffee. If MIL wasn't feeling too harassed and  was feeling fond of me (not always the case!), she might make my favorite diples, a delicious, addictive fried dough with honey syrup and walnuts.  After dinner would always be the egg cracking contest.  

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Also lamb with mint jelly.  And ham.  And sweet potatoes.  And a relish tray with deviled eggs.  The eggs always had a rather unappetizing tinge of this color or that because some of the dye had seeped through the shell.

 

Green vegetables were spring peas with mint, and asparagus. 

 

And seafoam salad.  My mother loved it, and she said it looked so pretty and "springy."

 

The children always made a centerpiece for the table.  It consisted of an Easter basket, that fake green "grass," a chocolate bunny or two, some hand-painted Easter eggs that my parents had collected during travels through Europe (I think these particular ones came from Poland), and little German hand-painted mushrooms, red with white spots.  Included in this centerpiece was always some "ducklings" that the kids made from yellow squash.

 

Next day, we, too, had creamed eggs on toast.  My dad made it, and it was wonderful.  He added just the mere dusting of curry powder.  I still love it to this day. 

 

And, we removed the clove "eyes" from our yellow squash ducklings, and Dad cooked them up as per my grandmother's recipe, which I've posted somewhere on eG.

 

I have very fond memories of Easter when I was a child.  Particularly loved that decadent and evil feeling I got when I bit right into the chocolate bunny's ears.  Oooooh..... 

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Ooh, yes, Seafoam Salad.  My grandmother would make that for fancy dinner events.  Mmmmm.  Wonder what it tastes like now?  And would anyone eat it if I made it?

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The entree was generally ham, although sometimes it would be pork loin, or even chicken. Little variance in the sides, though -- asparagus (steamed, with hollandaise); deviled eggs brought home from the egg hunt at church and quickly deviled, the shells saved to crush finely and put on top of the soil in my grandmother's African violets in the window; green peas with butter, and some form of potatoes, generally scalloped. And homemade yeast rolls.

 

My Easter dinner today is very little different. I generally wrap the asparagus in proscuitto and roast it, and sometimes will sub a corn pudding for the potatoes.

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Ham, some electric green or orange jello thing with pineapple, potato salad, deviled eggs made w Miracle Whip and French's mustard, hot cross buns from Hanscom's Bakery.


Edited by gfweb (log)
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Ooh, yes, Seafoam Salad.  My grandmother would make that for fancy dinner events.  Mmmmm.  Wonder what it tastes like now?  And would anyone eat it if I made it?

 

Well, since I don't know your "anyone," impossible for me to say.  But I can tell you that, in my world anyway, a great many people still like it, and eat it.  In fact, Luby's cafeteria sells tons of it.

 

And my sweet mama, who died of Alzheimer's about six years ago at the age of 92, got to where, at the end, she wouldn't really eat much else.  She loved it to the end.  I was making it at least twice a week.  We thought it was really pretty good for her, with cottage cheese and pineapple and nuts.

 

And, for you ElsieD, it is a green - a pretty foamy light lime green, thanks to the lime Jello, mayo, and cottage cheese.

 

Here's the recipe I've used for, um, well, about fifty years:

 

Seafoam Salad

1 large box lime gelatin

½ C mayo or Miracle Whip

 

1 C crushed pineapple with juice (canned - it won't congeal with fresh pineapple)

1 C cottage cheese

½ C chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans; optional)

 

Dissolve gelatin in 2 cups boiling water.  Stir in 1 C ice cubes.  Add mayo or Miracle Whip and blend thoroughly.  Add pineapple and stir.  Add cottage cheese and nuts and stir to combine.  Pour into greased mold and chill.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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rainbow challah is the only thing I can think of that was a tradition for us? each piece of challah dough was colored so dark it it looked like Play doh and when you braid it and slice it ..it is so pretty! 

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