Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter Bread and Food Traditions - part 1 - Margaret Ullrich

     Easter has more customs than the Bunny has eggs.  A popular tradition is to gather together and share a feast.  Over the centuries women have made this a glorious occasion with beautifully decorated eggs, colorful cakes and sweet breads.

     And that's where Easter goes to hell in a bread basket.

     According to tradition, an angel appeared to Mary to tell her that Jesus would arise on Easter.  To show her joy she baked bread to share with her friends.  And to make it more special, she put an egg, a symbol of life, on the top.

     Now, I have to admit I don't know what I'd do if someone told me that a recently deceased relative was rising from the dead.  I guess baking bread is as good a thing to do as any.  The only problem is that over the past two millennia something got lost in translation as that bread recipe went from country to country.

     During my earliest years in Corona, Easter was Italian.  Palm Sunday was the Day of the Olive.  Small blessed olive branches were offered as tokens of peacemaking.  For Easter breakfast we had Colomba di Pasqua.  Colomba is bread shaped to look like a dove, the symbol of peace, and covered with almond paste and almonds. 

     Easter dinner also had traditions.  First we had manicotti.  That was followed by a roasted whole baby lamb with a mixed salad, sauteed spinach and roasted artichokes.  For dessert there were cream tarts, cookies, spumoni, nuts and roasted chestnuts.  The adults also had coffee.

     Then my family moved to College Point, which had been settled by Irish and German families.  They had their own Easter customs.  Since Easter was not as commercial as Christmas, we were able to follow our own Maltese customs.

Please continue to part 2 - 
it's about Ma making Maltese Kwarezimal and Figolli for Lent and Easter.

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