Eat your way through spring
We sometimes tend to think of fall and winter as feast times, thanks to food-centric celebrations like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas that fall in the colder months. But since we seem to love nothing more than finding excuses to gather together and share meals – particularly if it allows us to celebrate our culture or religious observations at the same time – it turns out there are wonderful opportunities to enjoy celebratory food in the spring too.
See if these recipes – and the celebrations to which they belong – don’t inspire you to pull out your pots and pans, heat up the oven and eat your way through spring!
St. Patrick’s Day
While St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish (he was an English Bishop who did missionary work in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century), he is the much beloved patron saint of the Emerald Isle.1
On St. Patrick’s feast day, which falls on March 17, it seems as though the whole world is a little bit Irish. That’s because even if you don’t technically hail from Ireland, it’s still perfectly acceptable to throw on something green and cook up some good old Irish stew – or any of the simple and hearty recipes that are native to that little green island on the shores of the Irish Sea.
- 50 Favorite Irish Dishes from Food.com
- Dublin Coddle (a stew-like dish made from bacon, sausages and potatoes)
- Irish soda bread
- Traditional Irish desserts, including Irish Whiskey Cake
A Jewish holiday commemorating the time Jews were saved from being killed by Haman in ancient Persia, this year Purim begins on Wednesday, March 23 and ends on Thursday, March 24.
As with most Jewish holidays, food plays an important role in this celebration. Revelers enjoy a large festive meal called the Purim se-udah, and put together packages filled with gifts of food and drink for other Jews to help them celebrate. Called Mishloach Manot or Shalach Manot, the packages must contain two servings of different kinds of food that are ready to eat such as nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, fresh fruit, and breads.2
There are no specific foods that Jews must eat on Purim, but the delicious little triangular-shaped, filled cookies called Hamantaschen are almost always eaten for dessert, and often make their way into the gift baskets.
- Food Network Hamantaschen cookies
- The Ten Best Hamantaschen Recipes by the Joy of Kosher
- How to make perfect Hamantaschen by Tori Avey
Common secular traditions might make it seem as though Easter is all about eating chocolate bunnies and hunting for colored eggs, but in fact it is actually the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Traditional Easter foods vary from culture to culture, but common fare includes hot cross buns, Easter bread, and a roast lamb dinner with all the trimmings.
- Hot Cross Buns from Simply Recipes
- Greek Easter Bread from Food Network
- Easter Lamb by Jamie Oliver
- A selection of Easter Recipes from Allrecipes
Celebrated for eight days in early spring, Passover is a Jewish holiday that runs from April 22 – April 30 this year. It commemorates the freeing of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt, and food traditions are woven throughout this weeklong celebration.
Some Jews follow very strict rules, and there are a lot of foods that are off limits during Passover, specifically leavened bread. But there are also specific foods served during the traditional family meals, or Seders, which take place in the first two nights of Passover. These usually include Matzoh (unleavened cracker-like bread), bitter herbs like horseradish, hard-boiled eggs, roasted lamb, and wine.3
- Traditional Passover food and recipes from Chabad.org
- Matzo Ball Soup from Food Network
- Passover Seder recipes from Martha Stewart
Even if some of these holidays and observations are unfamiliar to you, consider making some of the foods belonging to them. It’s a great way to connect to the delicious world around you, have some fun in the kitchen, and enjoy new foods and recipes.
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