There’s just something nostalgically awesome about being little and living in a world of chocolate bunnies, yellow peeps and plastic egg hunts in the backyard…not once but twice. Why? My family celebrates two Easters.
I didn’t know many kids like me growing with families who had both Catholic and Greek Orthodox traditions. There was this quiet smile knowing that in just a few more weeks I, an only kid, would get to see my family all over again.
The “first” Easter always had the bells and whistles about it, with PAAS-dyed eggs and cellophane-wrapped baskets precariously filled with Peeps and rabbit softies. That fake plastic grass always got everywhere and I’d inevitably find a piece in July while recovering on the couch from a sunburn.
When my parents cooked, the food was delicious but anything outside of my house was another story. There was also this strange, put-on formality by people who were unceremonious by nature. They anxiously prepared salty ham, overcooked vegetable sides, burned yeasty rolls and set up a sugary dessert spread. I think those meals taught me lessons in politeness since no one ever said anything other than how great it all tasted.
My favorite Easter was the “second” one. We were always at home and there was no marshmallow anything in sight. My dad in the kitchen for hours making Greek butter cookies called Koulourakia and confections with cloves called Kourambiethes. Roasted lamb was always dinner, dripping with deliciousness and embedded with cloves of garlic. We’d have rolls but they were buttery and soft or hand mashed potatoes with just enough salt and pepper to make you want to have seconds…or thirds.
Orthodox Easter is Sunday, May 5, so check out these recipes for celebrating Greek Easter by Chef Michael Psilakis and learn how to make the traditional red Easter eggs here. Leave a note below and let me know how you did!