With all the craziness around the FUSSYlittleBALLOT, I’ve almost forgotten there are two major holidays right around the corner: Easter and Passover. I think I’m actually in denial about Passover.
My mother, stepfather, sister and her gentleman caller are all coming up to Casa del Fussy to celebrate the holiday. It’s a spring festival, so I hope to get springlike things on the menu. I’m planning a pea and ricotta thing and maybe something to do with fennel pollen. But besides those I suppose the rest of the meal will be fairly traditional and solidly Eastern European.
But I don’t want to talk about the thing I know about. I want to talk about what seems like the more interesting dichotomy surrounding Easter. There could be a simple and easy explanation for this, but it seems as if people break into two camps: those who prefer lamb and those who want a ham.
In college I dated a girl who invited me to her parents’ house for Easter. You know what’s awful? I can’t remember her name, but I remember that her mom made an amazing leg of lamb with a spinach pie on the side. It was incredible.
Lamb makes a lot of sense in spring. It’s the season. Sheep are having babies, those babies are getting meat on their bones, and there they are off in the fields looking cute and delicious.
Ham makes a holiday. It’s a festive joint of meat that is sweet, salty and smoky. One ham serves an awful lot of people, and it’s damn easy to prepare. Heck, if you get a HoneyBaked ham, all you have to do is take it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. That’s right. There is no heat involved with the proper preparation of this famous brand of spiral-sliced and glazed pig leg. If you don’t believe me, check out the instructions yourself. Heat ruins this bad boy.
But on the other hand, ham feels very much like a winter dish. It’s smoked and it’s cured. The meat is preserved to last through the barren months of winter.
I don’t begrudge anyone his or her meaty centerpiece of choice. Really, I’m just curious which one you prefer, and which one you are going to have this weekend. My goal is to live vicariously through you all, as we will roast a lamb shank (sans meat) and use the bone as a reminder of the sacrifice that happened a long long time ago, but there will be no lamb.
Probably, like all other holidays, we will enjoy some roast chicken. Although I might supplement that with some brisket as well.
Sadly, I don’t think I’ll have the energy to execute the most delicious Passover dessert ever. Maybe next year. This year I’m keeping it simple. At least as simple as any meal can be that involves fennel pollen.
I still need to figure out exactly the level of our observance this year. It’s always fraught with peril. Surely you will be hearing the details of this and more in the days to come. Seders are fun. Giving up bread and pasta for a week is decidedly less so. But that’s the point. More on this later.
For now, I’d love to be regaled with tales of Easter and all of its delights.