To me, Easter has a variety of meanings. There is the traditional/church-oriented meaning: Christ rose to Heaven to save the world. He made the ultimate sacrifice so show humans that each individual needs prepare themselves to be judged based on how they lived their life. There are the less-traditional (and far more delicious) meanings: ham, chocolate bunnies and the Polish Easter breakfast. This post is all about those delicious moments. Or at least the morning prep bits… This year was the first year I cooked the ham. To prep it my beau cut diamonds into the skin as I woke up. Then we both poked the heck out of the poor ham with whole cloves. Apple cider was then poured into the pan so that there was about a half inch of liquid in the bottom. And then we put it into the oven and let it sit for 3.5 hours. I freaked out when I saw that the skin had become a brownish-black crust. Wouldn’t you? I was kindly reminded that when sugars crystallize and get baked at high temperatures they tend to ‘burn’ a bit. Hence the wonderful crust on things like crème brûlée and the skin on your Easter ham. Once I remembered this, all was right with the world again.
I will state that it really was a good idea to not let me handle the knife. I wasn’t awake yet. I’m still learning how to take more then the prep-pictures. Please forgive me for not including the pictures of the crusty black skin but I was too busy scaring myself that Easter was ruined.
Next step: breakfast. My dad is half Polish. The story that I’ve learned is that his mom was born in Poland and came through Ellis Island when she was about 3. Unfortunately I was never able to meet her but I hear she was an angel with blonde hair and blue eyes. One of the traditions that has been handed down is the Blessing of the Baskets. Every year we go over to an aunt’s house where a cousin (who happens to be a deacon) blesses the family baskets which hold the first meal of Easter. Some of dinner usually makes its way onto the table in the form of ham and wine… Its a beautiful sight that deserves to be shared. Next year… This year I included the colored eggs I made with my aunt (post to come), kielbasa, salt, pepper, tea, and hot chocolate mix. My aunt bought the babka, which she shared after the food was blessed. Tradition seems to dictate that you eat hard-boiled eggs, kielbasa and babka for breakfast Easter morning. So that is what we did! The beau prepped the meat while I ran around taking pictures of eggs. I also cut up the eggs and babka. Did I mention that I napped, too? It was worth the wait:
Sooooooo good! This is definitely one of those meals that is fabulous because it only comes up once a year. I love the connection it gives me to my heritage. Traditions help a person feel grounded yet open to new experiences because you trust that they will live forever. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m nodding right now – aren’t you?
- Easter – Polish Traditions (barktime.wordpress.com) *Not my version of Easter traditions, but fairly similar