Give Spring Feasts a Personal Touch
Add new traditions to old to create memorable Easter and Passover meals
Sprinkle a trail of colorful flowers or jelly beans down the center of the table for a festive note
Gathering family and friends for a grand Easter Sunday feast or Seder Night dinner for Passover are cherished springtime rituals. Cooking the traditional dishes that honor each occasion is also a beloved part of the holidays--but it's possible to add some surprises to give these delicious meals your own stamp.
Update your Easter menu
Of course, you can always serve Easter ham as the main course for your Sunday feast. If that's not the family favorite, make one or two changes to update your menu while keeping the dishes everyone loves.
- Choose roast turkey for the main course. Brined first and then oven-roasted or grilled on the barbecue, it's superb for any holiday.
- Borrow an Easter dish from another culture to liven up your menu. Try raisin-studded hot cross buns, eaten in England and Ireland on Good Friday, as a home-baked treat for the holiday.
- Go all out with your spring celebration by making a brand new dessert recipe. Maybe a zesty lemon cake or a decadent chocolate pie?
Add contemporary style to Seder menus
Passover rituals are indelibly interwoven with the Seder dinner, but you can still give the traditional menu a makeover.
- Lighten traditional matzo balls by adding carbonated water instead of tap water.
- Keep dessert light and bake golden, chewy almond meringues made with brown sugar instead of a rich nut cake.
- Make Passover confectioners sugar by grinding 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar with 1/2 cup (80 g) potato starch and use for sprinkling over desserts.
Set the table in your own style
Inviting guests to a beautifully set table adds a graceful note to every spring gathering. Choose from the tips here to create your own special table.
- Make place cards or individual holiday party favors to welcome each guest, setting a festive egg or a small basket of almonds with name tags at each place.
- Instead of a single floral centerpiece, set mini-arrangements at each place.
- Sprinkle a trail of colorful flowers or jelly beans down the center of the table for a festive note.
Judith H. Dern is an independent writer based in Seattle who loves the rituals associated with cooking for holiday meals.