Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Traditional Easter food in Britain

Chocolate eggs are undoubtedly the most popular Easter food in Britain, but by no means the only one. Hot cross buns, roast lamb, Easter biscuits in the shape of bunnies and Simnel cake are not to be sniffed at. Today, we are going to have a look at some of these traditional recipes.
Egg hunt
Image by Simon Greig in Flickr

As we said in a previous post, eggs have traditionally been related to spring and the beginning of life, and from the early stages of Christianity, they symbolized the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his death on the cross. Today, boiled eggs are still eaten at Easter, but the chocolate egg has become the most popular in the last years, being the traditional present that people give away to family and friends.
In the following video, we can hear a short history of the Easter egg.

Apart from boiled eggs, Easter biscuits are eaten for breakfast and also for tea. They are traditionally made with currants and spices, but they can also be made with other ingredients and in the shape of eggs or bunnies. Here is a recipe for traditional Easter biscuits.
Easter biscuits
For the main meal on Easter Sunday, roast lamb is served with mint sauce and vegetables. Lamb symbolizes Christ, who is known as "the Lamb of God". But before the Christians, lamb was already used by the Jews to celebrate Passover, which roughly coincides with Easter. It all started more than 3000 years ago, when the Jews were slaves in Egypt and Moses wanted to free them. The Pharaoh refused to let them go, so God sent a series of plagues, the last one of which was the death of the firstborn sons. To spare the Jewish children, God told them to sacrifice a lamb and paint the lintels of their doors with its blood, so that the angel of death would pass over their houses and leave their offspring unhurt. That's why the Jews call this festivity "Pesach", or "Passover". When Jesus entered Jerusalem he told his Apostles to prepare the Passover meal, and they probably ate lamb at the Last Supper.
Easter roast lamb

For tea, in many households people like to make Simnel cake, which is a delicious fruit cake with layers of marzipan and decorated with eleven marzipan balls which symbolize the twelve Apostles except Judas, who gave Jesus away. In this video we can watch how to make one of these.

And last but not least, my favourite: the scrumptious hot cross buns, which are served hot with butter. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but I start to eat them as soon as I see them in the shops, which can be as early as February! You can watch how they are made in this video.
One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!
Finally, try this exercise to see how much you have learnt.
Traditional Easter food

Happy Easter!

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