Easter Sunday was yesterday and besides the memories of perpetuating certain cultural and religious traditions, there remains the memory of seeing the extended family and spending a significant amount of time together. In our family we rotate who hosts each holiday. I know that some families have certain members traditionally host specific holidays. For example, my friend Sherry always makes Thanksgiving. Although I do get to make Thanksgiving when it is my turn, I know that my sister likes to make it more than I do and so I offer to trade her when my turn comes up. This year it was my turn to host Easter/Passover. We live in Florida. We live in an area that is known as “southern New York and northern Cuba.” We get to see the various food offerings for holidays that living in a cosmopolitan area with diverse people provides.
So for yesterday’s Easter/Passover meal, I decided to incorporate some of the ethnic foods that I now see in our local markets. My first goal in planning our menu was to respect the traditions of Passover. Instead of having an Easter bread, I made matzah rolls and shaped them into a crown, in the same manner that a round, wreath-shaped Easter bread would look My matzah roll wreath was not leavened. I made lamb which for both Easter and Passover is symbolic of spring and rebirth. For those who don’t eat lamb there was a brisket fixed in a traditional Eastern-European Jewish way with onions and orange juice. I made multiple veggie dishes such as oven-roasted asparagus, beets, carrots, yucca with garlic, and potatoes. I also oven roasted, in a bit of coconut oil, some plantains. There were half sour pickles and a variety of international olives. Of course a huge salad with every imaginable lettuce variety served as a favorite of all my guests.
For dessert, instead of having an Easter cake we made a Pavlova which is a huge meringue ring with fresh fruit. It was my version that I served with a strawberry sauce and it was a big hit. Once again my menu choices supported the dietary restrictions of Passover but honored the festive meal of Easter.
So, I guess through food and entertaining our large extended family, all the different religious backgrounds of my family members were respected. Everyone truly enjoyed our afternoon meal and the time we spent into the evening hours.
Please share stories of your Easter and/or Passover celebrations! We look forward to hearing from you.