Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An Easter Meal to Remember

The Winter BazaarWhat are you having for Easter dinner? Sure, we've done the ham and potatoes thing but somehow that just never did it for me. Seemed rather odd to be celebrating a holiday stemming from Christianity's Middle Eastern roots by eating a bunch of pork. Irony or something.

An Easter MealAnyway, a couple years ago I wanted to start a new family tradition, something that would be more memorable and interesting and centered on Jerusalem and the events that transpired there 2000 years ago. I decided to celebrate with a Middle Eastern meal. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't Passover, this isn't authentic or even culturally correct I'm sure. It's just our little night to remember an area so far removed from Alaska.

First, I decorate with palm fronds lain underneath the placemats and down the center of the table as a natural runner. Then I use placemats made from burlap cut into rectangles and frayed at the edges which make rustic-looking placemats at bargain-basement prices.

Finally I serve food that is native to the region: fresh figs, olives, dates, lamb, couscous, pita, grape juice, persimmons, pomegranates, etc.--do some research and come up with your own interesting foods to try. The kids don't necessarily love it all but they like trying new things and getting a peek at foods that might have been eaten back at the time of Christ.

It's been fun and popular and a great way to celebrate a sacred holiday. Any spring time or Easter ideas of your own? Leave your links below.


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31 comments:

SpokaneMama said...

I love couscous! But if I made it for Easter dinner, my husband would leave me! LOL! He was raised as an Irish meat and potatoe boy! That habit is hard to break.

Loralee Choate said...

I want to eat at your house this year.

I am so sick to death of ham and "Funeral Potatoes".

Alas, I have zero control over the menu. :*(

chelle said...

Couscous is a staple at our house.
Alas, we are boring and ever traditional ... ham and potatoes for us this Easter.

luvmy4sons said...

When can I come? I am a vegan. Your meal sounds delicious.

Shalee said...

Well, we do the ham and potato thing... but this year, I have a gift certificate to Honey Baked Ham... so that's different! And we always celebrate with 20 or so friends. We have such a grand time celebrating the joy of the Resurrection together. If anything THAT's our tradition.

Trixie said...

Wow, Michelle! Very creative. I just know you are a party planner in another life:)

We are going the traditional ham and potatoes route-- it works for us. But, enjoy your festivities!

Take Care,

Trixie

Sheila said...

That looks like an amazing meal!

I don't cook this weekend, because we head over to family dinners, but we do have our own traditions.

Thanks for posting this and reminding us of them!

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum for Wifey Wednesday today!

Melissa Markham said...

What a delightful idea! And it makes much more sense than the ham dinner. We have done a variety of things over the years. Everything from not making a special meal to the ham meal to having dinner at my husband's grandmother's house (also ham).

This year we are having a late dinner because my hubby will be out of town for Easter. He has requested roast beef. I may try to throw in some olives, couscous and dates though....

Meshellyn said...

That is a fabulous idea! I don't cook our "actual" Easter dinner yet (grandma still takes on that feat), but I may decide to try this during the week of Easter with my family. Very creative!

Thea said...

Still trying to figure out what to prepare for easter :D

tjhirst said...

I found a kindred spirit! This will be the fifth year we have lamb. I will be serving it with Spinach Florentine and Risotto.

My husband actually started this tradition to teach our family of the symbolism associated with lamb. We read about the sacred symbolism of the passover, relate these to the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God and conclude with a celebration meal on Easter Sunday to remind us of how these events help us today.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

This is a lovely idea. I'm not much for cooking large chuncks of meat and have already changed the Christmas dinner to a lovely and simple salmon dinner. I wonder if I could take away the ham on Easter without the husband noticing?

The Source said...

Now that's an original idea! I think we might try it this year! Thanks!

mj said...

We're doing a Middle Eastern kind of meal for our Easter also--we lived over there for three years so we've all learned to love flatbread, couscous, hummus, dates, etc. I've never cooked lamb, though--I have to admit I'm not too fond of it. One of these days I need to give it a try.

Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home said...

You know, I've never had to prepare an Easter meal for our family- we've always been blessed to be with another family.

I love the idea of using middle eastern foods, though. I think that it would help to make the meal more meaningful and memorable, as well as just broadening your kids horizons. What a wonderful idea!

Amber M. said...

What a great idea, Michelle. We're traveling this Easter, but next year I think my little ones would really benefit from this. Thanks!

Piseco said...

I love this idea! We're going to be home this Easter with no company, and I've been looking for a way to have a little fun with the day.

MamaBugs said...

Any chance you have time to share your lamb recipe? We are having lamb this year also. While I love couscous my family doesn't but I think I can add flatbread, olives and some fruit to the menu without too much complaining!

Scribbit said...

Sure, I've got several lambs recipes in the archives, click on the recipes link in my sidebar to browse them (where it says Posts by Topic) but here is the one I posted that I used last year:

http://scribbit.blogspot.com/2007/04/rosemary-and-honey-glazed-leg-of-lamb.html

Scribbit said...

Lamb

:: Suzanne :: said...

We are doing that too - a Mediterranean meal. We are all very excited about it.

Heather said...

I LOVE this idea! And I love lamb... might have to give this a try this year.

Gray Matters said...

Sounds yummy - every tradition needs a little shaking up every now and then!

Lisa said...

Sometimes it's ham, but sometimes it's lasagna. Just because we like it.

No one would eat if I prepared anything you suggested. We are not adventurous in the food department.

high-heels and a sippy-cup said...

Love the tradition, Michelle. I think I'll adopt it. I'm kind of sick of the ham and potatoes stand-by anyway. :-)

Good & Crazy said...

Wow I haven't thought one thought about Easter Dinner. I've been flirting with veganism this week, and somehow a giant ham just doesn't sound very appealing...the alternative? Sprouts, anyone?

Two Mittens said...

That's such a fabulous and meaningful idea. I love it!

Average Jane said...

We're having Italian food for Easter this year. No real reason - I just felt like doing something different from our usual ham/potatoes/side dishes meal.

Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife said...

I love this idea of serving native foods. What a great way to make it more a time of remembrance! Thanks for sharing!

Jen@BigBinder said...

That sounds really cool. Good point about the ham, by they way.

I go to Grandma's for Easter, but I do love this idea. I never quite understood why we don't celebrate Passover, it seems like we should.. Also I think my kids would LOVE the palm fronds. They certainly loved sword fighting with them at church on Palm Sunday after Mass.

luckyzmom said...

I do not eat baby stuff; lamb, veal, baby pigs, chicken embryos, etc. As usual, though, you are clever and inventive.