Search This Blog

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Of Painted Eggs and Chocolate Bunnies

Lamb kebab with a spring green salad to celebrate the Equinox

I have always been a history geek. Perhaps it is the influence of my military upbringing or family roots in Celtic countries but I love to see the way we have remade ourselves and reinvented our histories, generation after generation. 

Spring greens indoors

History is written by the victors, they say, but those overthrown  are never completely willing to give up their own stories of place and purpose. Native American peoples are an example. You can force them onto reservations, place their children in missionary schools and punish them severely if they do not speak English, but you cannot take away who they are as a people. 

In 735, it was noted by the English historian Bede (a monk) that the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre had a festival lasting several days, and that her name was adopted for the Christian holiday of Easter, which falls on the Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox.

Spring peas, shallots and dill
Christianity, as it became the dominant religion of Europe, developed a strategy of 'if you can't beat them, join them' when it came to ritual festivals of the ancient world. Eostre, the goddess of Spring and Fertility (Ostara in Celtic lands) was not going to cease to be an important festival, so it was adopted by the church instead; much as was done with the winter solstice and christmas celebrations. The spring lamb, bunnies, baby chicks, hunts for painted eggs and decorating with fresh flowers on this date are all carry-overs from these ancient roots of the celebration of the earth's renewal and rebirth.

Ready for planting

Today is the Spring Equinox and while I am not a religious person of any persuasion, I do love the thought of honoring this oldest of feast days with traditional foods and celebrating a bit of nearly forgotten history. I will plant my herb seeds and then, a Spinach Salad with chopped Shallots, Spring Peas, Eggs and Dill along with Lamb Skewers with Baby Onions and Potatoes will bring together the flavors of the season.

If only I had some Mead to pour onto my garden...

Lemon Marinated Lamb Kebabs with Pearl Onions & Potatoes
Serves 2

Nothing beats the flavor of local grass fed lamb

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Zest and Juice from ½ small Lemon
Few leaves of Dried Oregano
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
3/4# cubed Lamb pieces
6 Pearl Onions
6 tiny Potatoes, cooked and cooled

Oregano from the pantry

Mix together the olive oil, lemon zest and juice. Rub the oregano leaves in your palms over the bowl to release their flavor. Add the lamb, onions and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss together until well coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator 1 hour or more to marinate.

Alternate marinated lamb pieces, onion and potatoes onto skewers. Grill over a hot fire to desired doneness. Serve with a spring salad.

No comments:

Post a Comment