Many years ago while in my childhood, my maternal grandparents, both excellent chefs, would cook up some really wonderful Italian traditional dishes for Easter. I can remember that on every Easter Sunday a huge meal was presented for the entire family to enjoy. Cousins, aunts, uncles and neighbors, no matter their origins or faith would come over, even if only for a few minutes to enjoy the spread. At the end of the meal, often a four to five hour feast, we would enjoy a piece of Italian Wheat Pie — Pastiera, another Easter tradition.
Just recently I was reminiscing with a culinary friend about the extravagant “antipasto” courses we would put out and how a typical holiday meal would include seven, nine or even twelve courses. Those meals, which started in the early afternoon often lasted through to midnight – all day events. As a child, one of the best parts was always the Italian Easter Bread, with its colorful eggs, sprinkles and sweet flavor.
Such traditions took place in every family’s home in those good old days. Each nationality, and region, would celebrate Easter Sunday with its own unique culinary traditions. Different national dishes helped to celebrate this religious holiday in their own special way, bringing people together in wonderful ways, sitting at the table, talking, and enjoying being family. No televisions, smartphones, laptops or entertainment – just each other and the holiday that was the focal point of our gathering.
We’ve assembled several wonderful recipes including Russian Pashka, Greece and Poland while Carol Wilson has added Easter Feast and Easter Treats recipes from England. We hope you enjoy these and let me know how well your Easter Sunday meal turned out.
Let’s not forget the spirit of peace and understanding that Easter embodies and remember that at this same time of year, our Jewish brethren celebrate Passover, for the Seder is the foundation of the Easter feast.