Friday, April 3
All the Traditions...
I come from a convert family (my parents became Orthodox when I was three) and so a lot of our family traditions surrounding festal food that I remember growing up were American-ish. We always had thick sub sandwiches to break the Christmas and Paschal (Easter) fasts, Christmas breakfast was waffles, bacon or sausage, half a grapefruit with a maraschino cherry in the center, and tea with honey and milk. Broiled flounder, sweet potatoes, and asparagus were served for Palm Sunday and our Pascha dinner was ham, scalloped potatoes, asparagus, and lots of chocolate for dessert.
As my siblings and I grew up, we were exposed to a lot of different cultures. Parishioners who came from Lebanon, Egypt, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Georgia etc. shared the most delicious foods with us and we loved it all! Our father (who is a priest) has always encouraged a Pan-Orthodox flavor to the parishes he has served and so there were always Agape Meals (pot-luck dinners) after midnight Liturgies and baskets blessed after the Paschal Liturgy.
Now that we have our own family, there are several things that we must have at Pascha: Kulich, Greek Pascha Bread, Kielbasa, Cheese Pascha, BACON, Red Eggs, Chocolate, and Cheese. I cram a lot of these goodies into the basket that we get blessed. In addition, I find myself bringing out those old family favorites around this time of year. I always sign up to bring subs to the Agape Meal and our Pascha dinner usually looks a lot like the dinners that we had when we were growing up.
What are your festal food traditions?