Easter is one of the most celebrated religious holidays in the Christian world, next to Christmas. Traditions of the choice of ham or lamb include symbolism, cultural preference, pagan traditions, personal taste, and convenience. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy our high quality meats, but we hear that some folks swear by them:). In this blog we have a brief history quote of Easter foods by Mircea Eliade, hear from two passionate chefs about their choices of ham vs lamb, provide a link of recipes for both such as “Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb” or “Fresh Ham with Honey and Cloves”, and describe our own ham and lamb choices at our store here in Eugene.
According to the Encyclopedia of Religion, Mircea Eliade editor in chief [MacMillan:New York] 1987, volume 5 (p. 558): "Among Easter foods the most significant is the Easter lamb, which is in many places the main dish of the Easter Sunday meal. Corresponding to the Passover lamb and to Christ, the Lamb of God, this dish has become a central symbol of Easter. Also popular among European and Americans on Easter is ham, because the pig was considered a symbol of luck in pre-Christian Europe."
Ham or Lamb for Easter? - a funny blog that we found and had to share with you !
“Ham vs. lamb” may not rise to the level of theological debate, but when it comes to Easter dinner, the issue can divide celebrants into zealous partisan camps. Whose meat reigns supreme? We put the question to two passionate chefs.
“You know ham kicks lamb’s butt,” said Leisa Dent, co-owner and chef of L.L. Dent, the Southern-style restaurant in Carle Place, N,Y. “And I don’t care how much mint jelly you put on that thing.” Dent regularly cooks fresh ham (i.e., pork) and smoked ham.
“Both are better than lamb,” she declared.
For Easter lunch, Dent traditionally prepares a smoked ham that she glazes with, among other ingredients, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.
A whole ham (that is, the entire hind leg of the pig) easily feeds 20 to 30 people. For a smaller gathering, Dent cooks the “shank” half, which serves 10 to 12.
Because a smoked ham has already been cooked, “cooking” it at home involves little more than putting it in the oven, brushing on the glaze and getting it hot. Dent makes it fancy by scoring the top and inserting cloves into the resulting diamond pattern.
Ninety minutes later, the ham comes out of the oven fragrant, succulent of flesh and crisp of skin.
And ham is the Easter gift that keeps on giving. “The leftovers are good, hot or cold,” she said. “Ham and eggs for breakfast the next morning, ham sandwiches for lunch. And then I use the bone for pea soup.”
“For Greeks there is no question,” said Peter Spyropoulos, executive chef of Limani, the Greek seafood restaurant in Roslyn. “Lamb is all we eat. Lamb. Lamb. Lamb.”
In fact the traditional Easter meal, consumed at midnight after Easter Mass, starts with magiritsa, a soup made from lamb innards. Next up: kokoretsi, skewered lamb innards wrapped with fat and grilled. Finally, spit-roasted baby lamb.
For American homes, roast leg of lamb is easier to handle, and Spyropoulos recommends a boneless leg, which is a cinch to carve. He seasons his lamb with the Greek trinity of garlic, oregano and lemon — 2 cups of lemon juice to cut the richness of the lamb — but he also adds rosemary and thyme (if his mother isn’t around).
As for leftovers, Spyropoulos insists that “anything you can do with ham you can do with lamb.” He loves a sandwich made with thinly sliced lamb and Gulden’s mustard on white bread.
Finally, Lamb has a profound connection to the Easter story that ham just can’t touch. “At Mass,” Spyropoulos said, “the Greek Orthodox priest is always talking about lamb as a symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice.” No one ever talks about “the ham of God.”
Ham and Lamb Recipes
Here at Long’s we offer our own in house we spiral cut and honey glaze ham on a pre-order (we run out of these fast – pre-order is best to make sure that you have one ready. We also offer the leg of lamb, and rack of lamb, and our lamb crown roasts are starting to get popular.
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