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
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.
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.
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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