Your Easter Dinner – Does It Have To Include Ham?
As Easter approaches you are preparing for friends and family this weekend, hard boiling some eggs for Easter morning, make sure there's enough candy for the Easter basket, and the important Easter dinner. You may notice that the Honey Glazed Ham is prominently on display recently - the one food that seems to sell significantly around 2 holidays every year. Have you noticed not everyone likes ham? Is it worth having?
Growing up (in Central Jersey) I always saw a ham on display on the dinner table for Easter, and I know my aunt is probably planning to have one this year yet again. I did not appreciate ham until I was an adult, and I do not remember many kids going crazy over ham for dinner.
We may not understand how ham became so closely associated with Easter dinner. Back in the early days meat was slaughtered in the fall, there was no refrigeration, and the fresh pork that wasn't consumed during the winter months before Lent was cured for spring. The curing process took a long time, and the first hams were ready around the time Easter rolled around. Thus, ham was a natural choice for the celebratory Easter dinner (your history lesson for today).
Ham seems to be more of an American tradition for Easter. Many other countries lean toward Lamb - a tradition dates back to the first Passover. The popularity of Lamb in America pales in comparison to Ham, so the debate continues - does your Easter dinner have to include Ham?
Past Easter dinners for my family have included a pasta starter (usually a lasagna). This always reigned popular among my family because not everyone is a fan of Ham (my nephew and my girlfriend to name 2). My aunt is offering 3 different options for dinner - may seem a little overboard but I come from a family who always has to have enough food for any unexpected guests.
My deal with Ham is that I enjoy it leftover. Give me some fried in a pan with eggs, or dice it up in homemade Mac and Cheese (one of my favorite meals growing up - 3 different cheeses, bits of ham and bread crumbs on top), but I cannot deal with it for Easter.
I'm sure you have suffered in this plight for your dinner, but here's something to think about: Press of Atlantic City reporter Lee Procida released a story today about the soaring price of Ham. Does this mean we need a cheaper alternative for an affordable Easter dinner that will not break the bank?
What about your Easter Sunday gathering - what is on the menu? Does Ham have to be there? Would you rather a nice Roast Beef or a Turkey? Feel free to respond and explain your traditions for Easter dinner.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and remember to send the leftovers over here for Morgan and myself.