Whether it’s a ham dinner, Peeps, or Cadbury Creme Eggs, everyone has certain foods he or she thinks of when it comes to Easter — even those folks who don’t celebrate the religious holiday. However, this is a very ethnocentric view of Easter eats, so in the spirit of multiculturalism, it’s time for a lesson on the holiday’s traditions around the world.
We won’t be examining the parts of Easter cuisine that are redundant to some and boring to others. Instead, we’re going to look at the truly bizarre foods served at Easter. Forget what you know about eating at Easter, because nothing is safe here — even our beloved chocolate bunnies (gasp!).
Then again, traditions in the United States probably look weird and laughable to other countries, so why not see who can truly take the crown for weirdest Easter foods?
Here are five examples from around the world that deserve to be in the running:
In Poland and parts of Russia, it’s traditional to have a butter lamb as the centerpiece of Easter dinner. No, this isn’t some type of butter-heavy way to cook lamb, but instead a giant hunk of butter that has been sculpted into the shape of a lamb. The lamb represents the beginning of spring, and the butter represents an easy way to give yourself a holiday heart attack — or something like that.
Remember that classic episode of The Simpsons where the family visits Australia and Bart leaves behind a bullfrog that destroys their ecosystem by excessively breeding and eating all of the country’s crops? That’s pretty much how Australians actually feel about rabbits. Instead of celebrating Easter with bunny symbolism, they use a bilby, which is a small marsupial with large ears and a long, pointed nose. The animal is now endangered (thanks in part to those wascally wabbits), and has been subsequently incorporated heavily into Easter traditions — including the eating of chocolate bilbies instead of bunnies. Doesn’t make too much of a difference in the end though; once you bite the head off, it’s all the same.
Poland is back with another funky Easter tradition. However, it doesn’t have to do with the actual food itself, but rather its preparation. In Poland, men don’t help prepare the customary Easter bread because an old wives tale says if any dough gets in their mustaches, they will turn grey or the bread won’t rise. Of course, clean-shaven men are probably safe, but we’d wager that an awful lot of Polish men mysteriously start growing facial hair every March.
Lamb’s Stomach Soup
In Greece, when people are hungry after Easter Sunday mass, they return home to fill their stomachs with… another stomach. Lamb stomach, to be precise. Also known as patsas or tripe soup, the dish is often seasoned with red wine vinegar and garlic, or thickened with avgolemono (egg-lemon sauce). Indulge too much on Easter wine? Patsas is also supposed to be a great hangover cure.
Sure, milk isn’t really a food (unless you freeze it into milk cubes and crunch away), but we couldn’t resist including this tidbit. In Norway, it’s traditional for families to read or watch murder mysteries together at Eastertime. Not only do TV stations and publishers in Norway coordinate their programming for these activities, but milk companies actually make special cartons with mini murder mysteries printed on them. This is par for the course in Norway, but to people in America it might look a bit twisted, as photos of missing children used to be put on the sides of milk containers.