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19.3.13

THE EASTER MENU


While growing up, Easter centered on on the Easter HAM and the Feltámadási Körmenet [Resurrection Procession] Hungary was a secular country back in the fifties and sixties, but the annual Resurrection Procession used to have a huge turnout in Budapest. It was the one occasion people could gather en masse that didn't include some type of government enforced communist celebration and because religion was suppressed by the state, Catholic Easter became a peaceful anti government demonstration. It wasn't an Easter Parade with funny hats, although some would disagree, because it included the bishop under a golden tent in full golden regalia carrying the golden monstrance with the Eucharist all around the Rózsák Terei Szent Erzsébet Templom with flags and with the entire clergy in tow. As they passed, the people would make the sign of the cross. I suspect not many people stayed behind for the long mass that followed. Most of us were satisfied that thousands showed up to register their anti government feelings and then rushed home to eat our ham we smelt cooking since the morning.


This thanks in no small part to my grandma, who never went to church and yet clung to the old customs, which included fasting on bread and water since the morning of Good Friday. I guess she had her own brand of religion and the rest of us just followed. My most emotional Easter moment was surrendering myself to the voracious feed of cold cooked ham, hard boiled eggs, kalács [yeasted bread loaf] and green onions. With that Easter was complete for me. Of course that was on the Saturday and what we ate on Easter Sunday I cannot recall; probably there was leftover ham and eggs, we kids always made ourselves sick on the chocolate the Easter bunny brought for us. Easter Monday in Budapest held its own unique ups and downs for me, but that is an entirely different story.

In Canada the hodgepodge of old customs and new preferences combined into a fairly nice celebratory meal. We have our Easter meal on Sunday: a mixture of hot and cold food items. If there is a large crowd and it makes sense to prepare two entrees, I cook a ham. Otherwise I don’t. I love ham, but not everyone in my family likes it. If you can’t cook the eggs in the ham stock, it makes no sense to serve plain hard boiled eggs for dinner. It may have made sense back in the days after a long winter with no fresh greens to serve green onions for Easter, but we have fresh green vegetables all year around and therefore green onions hold no significance for us. I do not recall a special dessert with our Easter ham, but here in Canada no celebration meal is complete without dessert. The challah, the cake, the stuffed eggs, and the French salad can all be prepared a day ahead. Stuff and roast the tenderloin in the afternoon and roast the asparagus just before the meal and in the meantime set the table and make the green pear salad. Happy Passover and Happy Easter everyone!

MY EASTER MENU:

10 comments:

  1. Oh, my, my! Zsuzsa dear, I'm so impressed, and so touched by your beautiful photo of the Easter Procession, and the perfect menu for the special Easter Feast...starting from light salad, to the stuffed eggs, and oh wow! the moist and delicious ham, the stuffed eggs, and even more wise choice...one dessert, which is perfect to top of at the end of eating all the amazing foods.

    Thank you for participating, and I'm sure that the original blogger, Eva, from Hungary will be very happy to see your FEAST.

    A wise choice...to choose another Eva, who I will for sure visit to see her round-up, and curious to see what Sissy will bring to the Easter table...(maybe some exotic Asia cuisine?)...can't wait!...thanks for participating, my friend, and linking all the great food, and linking back to me!
    Hugs,

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  2. Thank you Elisabeth. This was a fun project and I enjoyed going down on memory lane. Read my story too, its telling. :-)

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  3. Thank you so much, Zsuzsa, for the invitation. I hope you will not regret choosing me. I have to think really hard what dishes to propose since I haven't really posted much of traditional Easter and/or family meals...
    It was such a pleasure to read your post and admire the delicious treats you propose. I don't come from a very religious family, so I have never participated in such a procession. My Easter memories (at least the positive ones...) are mainly linked to food I think ;-) Anyway, I'd better start working!

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  4. Thank you Zsuzsa, I am very touched by your invitation, koszonom szivesen. Food was such a celebration in my childhood house that it will be difficult to decipher one special meal from another, but I shall certainly try and recount a lovely food story down memory lane. Thank you again. I will check Hungarian Éva's blog and test my ability to read (it's always been sketchy, I'm a better writer and speaker than reader).
    Where in Budapest did you grow up? My parents were both in Pest, my dear Mom was in an apartment on Rákóczi út (if I strained my mind, I might even remember the number — it's a condo now) and my Dad's family lived in a flat on Benczúr út 14, after the Russian's took away their family home in the Liget.

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  5. Sissi, you are most welcome! As far as what you post, there are no rigid guidelines. It could be some simple dishes if Easter is just another weekend for you. So it doesn't have to be a formal dinner menu. Check it out, the Eva who started this theme didn't produce an entire menu either, she simply posted some Easter goodies. Elisabeth's looks like a Passover meal and is fully international. My Easter centers on food too, although the ham followed the religious activity for which I cannot take credit, because as a child you go where they tell you to go. I have not been inside a church since my youngest grandchild had first communion and that was two years ago. Her mother married into an Italian family and every occasion is made into an occasion and so we all get together for Easter and have a huge feast. I have taken the items I listed on my blog to these family get together[s], but it has been years since I put on an Easter dinner all by myself. I am not sure where and who will put it on this year, I suppose I better talk to my daughter about it, because her in-laws just flew off to Italy yesterday for Easter. :-) I suspect we will end up with only one entree this year and knowing how spontaneous my daughter is we could be having ribs on Easter Sunday. If your dream is an Asian meal for Easter, by all means go ahead. I think the variety makes this interesting and not the sameness.

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  6. Eva, I am really looking forward to both you and Sissi's taking on Easter. I may have made more out of it than required, haha, but I found it interesting what came out at the end of Easter food memories. And of course it wasn't a complete recount, as my previous reply shows it.

    Huh Eva, if you had a house in the Liget, I am not surprised the communists took it away from you. And of course I remember your family owned the Babszinhaz, where I went often in the early sixties, taking my younger cousins and brothers to the shows. The theatre’s lobby was lined with all these beautiful puppets in glass cabinets. The most memorable show we saw was Gulliver’s Travels with Ratonyi Robert as Gulliver. He was a well known performer at the time. After the war everything worthwhile went into “public ownership” but of course we all know that the public never benefitted from any of these acquisitions. I will look up where you lived on the Google map or at least the vicinity but I can fully picture the areas.

    I grew up in Pest, in the hetedik kerulet, very close to the Rozsak Tere chrurch, in fact we could see the steeples from our 2nd story apartment. The address was Alsoerdosor 28. I had a great aunt who had an apartment on Rakoczy Ut too. Living in the most populated area of Budapest was not that bad for me. Most courtyards are paved with stones and are dark places, but we were lucky, our building on two sides faced two courtyards and both were beautifully cultivated by the hazmester [super]. We had large trees, 3 lawns and several flowerbeds and benches all around and there was even a large metal swing for the kids. Our apartment was very tiny, but there was this unusual yard in the middle of the busiest, most populated area of the city. The Keleti Palyaudvar, 3 hospitals, 3 of the largest department stores, 4 live theatres, 3 movie theatres, the Garai Piac, az Ejjelnappali [Day and Night Grocery] were all within walking distance from the place I lived.

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  7. Zsuzsa, I'm back again to let you know that I did read your sweet Easter story about your childhood, and the Easter Procession...wondering if you actually took this beautiful photo or someone sent it to you from Hungary, and you scanned the photo to upload.

    Unfortunately, I do not have any memory of any Easter Procession from Hungary as a child, since I was so very young, and I am quite sure that my parents were not very religious and only followed traditions for holidays as for FOOD!
    The only memory I have, is from here in the U.S. but no Easter Processions. In Italy, they have not only for Easter, but especially for Good Friday, where the entire town comes out for the Good Friday Procession!

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  8. What a great story! I love the contrast of your grandmother and father's religions or beliefs. Growing up in the southern U.S. and living in what is called the Bible belt, I wasn't exposed to many religious difference. Baptist vs. Catholic was about as far as it got. I was raised southern Baptist but have moved a long way from the practices since then. The significance his is that we didn't "honor" passover or Good Friday. We all got pretty new dresses for Easter Sunday, but other than that - no traditional meal or practices. So it's always interesting to read about others' practices. I find it most interesting that the parade was primarily an anti-government protest. Fascinating story and awesome meal!!!!

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  9. Elisabeth, I think every country has its own Catholic customs or when its processions are held. I am not sure what is happening in Hungary at the moment in way of the Catholic Church, most of my brothers are cultural Catholics and are not particularly devout. I can’t blame them with the hodgepodge we grew up with; with one Catholic and one New Age parent. Personally I found refuge in history, philosophy and logic and so I became quite pragmatic for my old age. I can find more humanism, respect and love for my fellow humans in secular ethics.

    I could not find a single photo of the old Nagyszombat processions, these might have been scrapped and one of the reasons could be that they became wholly political and not so much a religious observation. The photo in question was taken at an Urnapja procession somewhere in Hungary. Unfortunately I cannot take credit for it. I failed to record where I got it from and I searched for it for a long time. If I ever find it I will acknowledge the source. In the meantime when I talk to one of my relatives I will ask them about the fate of the Nagyszombat processions.

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  10. Thank you Peach Lady for the compliments. As for the religious observations and corresponding customs, these are never stagnant they keep changing and evolving sometimes for the better and sometimes for worse. What I write down here I always think I am sharing with my grandchildren, they can look back and observe how different they are now, or then. Google might not be around ten years hence, but I am saving the hardcopies. :-)

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