Essential Easter & Passover Buffets
by Kate Heyhoe
Opposites attract. With today's global melting pot, it's not unusual for Jews and Christians to be married to each other, celebrating the holidays of both beliefs throughout the year. And while many people will think I'm nuts for suggesting this, I've actually found a good deal of similarities in the traditional foods of Ireland's Christians and the Ashkenazic Jews.
The term Ashkenazic originally meant German, as applied to customs and peoples, but it has evolved to include the areas of central and eastern Europe. At Passover, a typical Seder dinner includes an appetizer often featuring whitefish or salmon, a meaty roast (beef or lamb), a potato dish, and spring vegetables. A roasted lamb bone, parsley, and horseradish are set out as ceremonial elements, along with a Haroset—a mixture of apples, dried fruits and nuts. At Easter, Christians also feature a meaty roast (lamb, beef or ham), potatoes, and an Irish Easter menu might also include salmon, cabbage, rhubarb or apples as ingredients.
This year, Easter occurs on April 4, just a few days after Passover on April 1. If you want to prepare foods that will serve both Jews and Christians during this time, try the menu below. Keep in mind that while the Christians (having already paid for their sins during Lent) are open to just about any food, the Jews have very strict dietary rules. These rules even vary from Ashkenazic to Sephardic Jews (from the Mediterranean), but both adhere to the requirement that foods be labeled kosher, that is, produced under strict rabbinical supervision according to kosher laws.
According to author Zell Schulman, prohibited foods at Passover include:
- Foods with leavening agents, such as breads and cakes
- Grains, including wheat, barley, oats, corn, rye, although matzo, an unleavened bread usually made of wheat, is not forbidden
- Beverages containing ingredients derived from grain, including grain alcohol
- Rice, beans and peas are forbidden to Ashkenazic Jews, but not to Sephardic Jews
The Essential Easter & Passover Buffets
In the menus that follow, the recipes are as fitting for an Easter dinner as they are for a Passover Seder, or are easily adaptable:
Baked Asparagus with Toasted Walnuts
The Rites of Spring: Easter, St. Pat's and Passover
Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created March 1999