Matt Pre­ston: Why Easter beats Christ­mas for food.

In terms of food, which cel­e­bra­tion is bet­ter – Christ­mas or Easter? No con­test! Choco­late eggs win ev­ery time

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS - MATT PRE­STON

WE MAKE so much fuss over the food of Christ­mas and yet, as far as I’m con­cerned, the eat­ing around Easter time is so much more thrilling. Here are my top 10 rea­sons why…

A CHOCO­LATE RIVER

Well, ob­vi­ously! This is the time of year ex­pressly de­signed for eat­ing choco­late, while Christ­mas is the time of year for cran­berry sauce.

I know which of these I’d rather cel­e­brate with.

FREE­DOM OF CHOICE

Christ­mas tucker is tied up in north­ern hemi­sphere tra­di­tions, which don’t al­ways trans­late to the south­ern hemi­sphere.

Easter, on the other hand, is so much freer. No need to eat a large, of­ten dry, bird with all the trim­mings that is to­tally at odds with the balmi­ness of our Aussie sum­mer.At Easter you can choose what­ever pro­tein you want for your cho­sen feast.

Lamb has a spe­cific Christian sig­nif­i­cance, but roast pork is equally ac­cept­able.And fish on Good Fri­day is a long­stand­ing Catholic tra­di­tion.

Eggs were cen­tral to so many of the pa­gan feasts of this time of year to cel­e­brate the spring equinox. From a culi­nary point of view, that means veg­e­tar­i­ans aren’t ex­cluded at Easter.

This is also the per­fect time of year to serve rab­bit – if you aren’t put off by the thought of sup­ping on bunny.

NO LEFT­OVERS

The cross that we all have to bear at Christ­mas is what to do with the food that didn’t get eaten, and in these days of try­ing to avoid food waste, you cer­tainly can’t just throw it away.

With Easter, there’s no turkey or ham that sits in the fridge for weeks, mock­ing you ev­ery time you open the door,or other left­overs.There’s just choco­late – hardly a prob­lem.

A BET­TER TIME TO FEAST

From bleak mid­win­ter to the green buds of spring, in the north­ern hemi­sphere there’s far more stuff to feast on at Easter than Christ­mas.

And while that dif­fer­ence is not quite so marked here in the south­ern hemi­sphere, we do get to salute Easter in the most fruit­ful of sea­sons, au­tumn.

HOT CROSS BUNS VER­SUS CHRIST­MAS PUD­DING

There’s a rea­son why we are happy to de­vour hot cross buns for the two months in the lead-up to Easter, yet that heavy Christ­mas pud­ding only makes its ap­pear­ance once a year – and then only af­ter we are rammed with turkey, ham, roast pota­toes and what­ever other tra­di­tional Christ­mas dishes you con­sume.

A BEVY OF BAKED DE­LIGHTS

I won’t bore you with the mas­sive list of Easter bakes, but trust me when I say that there’s far more bready and cakey de­li­cious­ness at Easter than Christ­mas.

Sorry, did I hear some­one say, “Please Matt, bore us!” al­beit a lit­tle face­tiously? How about this for a list of good­ies then: Fin­nish pulla, Brazil­ian

pa­coca de amen­doim, Italy’s dove-shaped

pan­netone called colomba di Pasqua, Croa­t­ian pinca, kulich from Ge­or­gia and those Paraguayan cheesy dough­nuts called chipa. And I didn’t even men­tion Bri­tish

sim­nel cake and Greek tsoureki. And while you may be looked at strangely if you bake any of these at any time other than Easter, tra­di­tional Christ­mas bakes like short­bread and fruit cake are just as suit­able and ac­cepted at Easter as well.

EASTER EGGS VER­SUS EGG NOG

One is as wel­come as a bad head cold and with a tex­ture to match, the other

is the thrill of the hunt, the prom­ise of a gi­ant bunny, and smiles on the faces of adults and chil­dren alike.

Although chances are that those kids’ smiles will be just a wee bit choco­late-smeared.

NO PRESENTS

At first glance, this might seem like a bad thing – a big tick in the Christ­mas col­umn. But if you are not a kid, you’ll know that the stress and has­sle of shop­ping for Christ­mas presents far out­weighs the plea­sure of re­ceiv­ing, in re­turn, those socks ’n’ jocks, aro­mather­apy can­dles or bath salts.

NO DODGY REL­A­TIVES

At Easter you can cel­e­brate with ex­actly who you want.

There’s no need to meet up with in­ap­pro­pri­ate un­cles, en­ter­tain that smug brother-in-law who wants to tell you about why he chose the top of the range Mercedes over the Range Rover and Niseko over Whistler for this year’s ski trip, or be forced to see those sec­ond cousins who ar­rive with a bot­tle of $6 crit­ter wine and then pro­ceed to guz­zle all your good stuff.

So as you can see, when I say “Happy Easter” I re­ally mean it!

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