Colored hard-boiled eggs are always popular at Easter, along with chocolate eggs. Baked ham with a brown sugar glaze is a traditional Easter food in the United States. The meat was slaughtered during the fall years ago before there was refrigeration, and any fresh pork not eaten during the winter months was cured for the springtime. The curing process took a while, and the first hams were ready around the time of Easter, which is why ham made a natural choice for an Easter meal.
Roast lamb is another Easter food idea, especially in the UK, and this tradition goes back even earlier than Easter, to Passover, a Jewish holiday. The sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Hebrews converted to Christianity and brought their traditions with them. Since Christians refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God, the Jewish traditions merged with the Christian ones.
There are many appetizers and side dishes which go nicely with roast ham, including baked or roasted potatoes, green beans, candied yams or sweet potatoes, or something chilled like a delicious strawberry and spinach salad, or some chilled soup. Scalloped potatoes, grilled asparagus, potato salad, broccoli gratin or broccoli casserole, and deviled eggs are more ideas.
Easter is a springtime holiday, so spring foods like lamb, asparagus, and other seasoning vegetables, as well as seasonal fruit, are likely to make an appearance on the Easter dinner table.
Easter Breads and Desserts
Herbed monkey bread, hot cross buns, and various Easter loaves are also popular at this time of year, as are chocolate eggs. If you have a favorite cake recipe or you like making cupcakes, why not decorate them with mini chocolate eggs?
You can make your Easter bread and desserts in advance, allowing you to focus on the baked ham and side dishes. The kids can help with the sweeter side of Easter food perhaps and, according to them, the best food on Easter Sunday is usually food of the sweet variety!
Easter Food around the World
Hot cross buns are popular in Britain, and the tradition comes from the ancient Anglo-Saxons who would bake little wheat cakes in honor of Eostre, the goddess of spring. After Paganism gave way to Christianity, the church substituted cakes with church-blessed sweetbreads. Similar sweet cakes include baba in Poland and bazooka in the Czech Republic.
The Portuguese and Greeks serve flat, round loaves marked with a cross, and honey pastries are popular food on Easter holidays in Jordan and Syria. In the United States, Germany, Holland, and some other European countries the Easter bunny brings Easter baskets and chocolate eggs for the children and hides them around the house and garden for the kids to find.
Most countries feature egg dishes in some form or other, either colored hard-boiled eggs which often get turned into deviled eggs, decorated eggs with painted patterns or even sparkles or sequins on the shells, flavorful egg-based recipes such as asparagus quiche, and yummy chocolate eggs.