It seems like only yesterday that we were packing away the Christmas tree and joining the gym to shed those excess Christmas pounds, yet here we are on the approach to Easter already. Like Christmas, Easter is a time when food plays a large part in the celebrations, which are often shared with family and friends. There are all sorts of edible ‘goodies’ around at this time that are too irresistible to avoid and too moreish to only eat in moderation. Easter eggs dominate the shelves and spring lamb is in abundance, so what foods do we associate with Easter and why?
Hot Cross Buns
These sweet, spicy little buns can easily be made from scratch or can be bought readily in almost all food shops at this time of the year. There are a whole variety of explanations as to the exact origins of the hot cross bun, especially in religious circles, so there is no definitive answer to their meaning.
In the UK, hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday and of course the cross on top, which makes this bun so distinct, has religious meaning. In London in 1592, a law was actually passed which prevented bakers mak-ing or selling any spice cakes, buns, biscuits, or other spice bread except on the Friday before Easter, Christmas or at burials. As you can imagine, such an unusual law was difficult to enforce so was later abolished, but the tradition of specifically eating them around Easter time, especially on Good Friday, still remains today. Legend has it that hot cross buns baked on Good Friday remain fresh for a whole year, so if you fancy a challenge this Easter why not put that to the test!
bread baked on Good Friday was said to be powerful and protective and could help guard against danger and evil spirits
Historically, any bread baked on Good Friday was said to be powerful and protective and could help guard against danger and evil spirits. In days gone by, people would often bake bread and hot cross buns on Good Friday and hang them in their kitchens in the belief it would ward of evil spirits and keep them safe in their home. Sailors even took this ‘potent’ bread to sea with them, believing it would help protect them and bring them home safely.
Most people enjoy their hot cross buns smothered in butter, so why not try Delamere Dairy’s goats’ butter on your hot cross bun this year.
Eggs (Of all varieties, not just chocolate!!)
Eggs really epitomise Easter, usually in chocolate form, but why are eggs so synonymous with Easter time? Eggs symbolise rebirth, rejuvenation, new life and fertility, which also all happen to represent spring time too, as well as having religious connotations. The egg really symbolises the beginning or the start of things. For Christians, the egg shell represents the tomb in which Christ rose from and the inside of the egg represents the resurrection and symbolises new life. For this reason, hard boiled eggs often play a big part in Easter Sunday breakfast for those who celebrate the religious holiday.
Eggs are of course a fantastic nutritious food all year round and are a ‘complete protein’ containing all ten essential amino acids required for good health. They are a certainly a healthy food and one egg provides just 70 calories, so for those people counting calories, eggs are definitely a nutritious friend!
The type of eggs most people think of with Easter, is of course the chocolate variety, unfortunately not as healthy as those above! The first chocolate Easter egg was actually made in Europe at the start of the 19th century, but the chocolate egg tradition did not come to the UK until 1873, when JS Fry of Bristol made the first chocolate egg (a whole two years before Cadburys made their first chocolate Easter eggs). Since then, the tradition of giving chocolate eggs at Easter has spread globally and certainly doesn’t look like it will be a tradition to die anytime soon.
If you want to eat chocolate eggs this Easter with a little less guilt, then opt for the dark chocolate variety containing high cocoa content. Dark chocolate is a good source of iron and contains a variety of antioxi-dants which have a variety of beneficial health benefits.
For the vegetarians amongst you, this Easter treat may not go down so well, yet it is this meat that plays a big part in the traditional Easter Sunday lunch! Seeing cute lambs skipping in lush green meadows is a real sign of spring and can make it a bit difficult to sit down and enjoy roast lamb, but eating it at Easter is a longstanding tradition that dates back to the first Passover of the Jewish people. Christians also often refer to Jesus as ‘the lamb of God’, another reason why this meat is associated with Easter.
Centuries ago, seeing a lamb, especially around Easter time, was considered a lucky omen, so if you are superstitious and need a bit of luck, get yourself out into the countryside this Easter weekend and get ‘lamb spotting’.
Lamb is a good source of iron, zinc and vitamin B12, all of which are required for good health
Lamb is a red meat and is a good rich source of high quality protein. It is also a good source off iron, zinc and vitamin B12 all of which are required for good health and are specifically useful if you suffer with low energy levels.
The history of this cake is much debated and really, despite all this debating, we are no further forward on deciding the exact origin of this little fruit cake that is traditionally baked and eaten around Easter time.
We do know that it dates back to Tudor times and that this spiced cake hasn’t always been associated with Easter, but was previously made for Mothering Sunday. Daughters would bake their mothers a cake and give as a gift on Mothers days, but was then often kept and eaten on Easter Sunday. It was really only after around the First World War that Simnel cake began to be seen as more of an ‘Easter cake’. As it was traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday, which marks the end of the forty days of lent it was seen as a delicious treat to mark the end of this fasting or abstinence period. In fact Easter Sunday is actually also known as ‘Lent Simnel Sunday’ by some people in honour of this little cake.
It is a distinct looking cake due to the eleven balls of marzipan found on top of the cake, which differenti-ates it from many other cakes. Like many foods traditionally eaten at Easter, Simnel cake has religious meaning and the eleven balls of marzipan represent Jesus’s’ eleven disciples, minus Judas the traitor.
There are many varying recipes for Simnel cake, so why not try making your own this Easter. Delamere dairy’s creamy goats’ butter is excellent to use in baking, and ensures a delicious tasting cake, the type where one slice is often not enough!!
Whatever you decide to eat this Easter, Delamere Dairy wish you a very Happy Easter and hope the Easter bunny delivered some delicious treats to your door.