Whether you are spending time with friends or family, for dinner or brunch, the following are solid options across the city.
Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro
In historic Beacon Hill, enjoy a prix fixe Easter Brunch from 11 a.m. on Easter Sunday at the Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro. Indulge in braised ham hock soup, pork pate, or arugula salad to start; roasted pork loin, braised lamb shoulder, yellow foot chanterelle risotto, or brioche French toast; and finish off your experience with selections from their daily dessert cart. The menu is $39 per person and reservations are recommended.
Over in Harvard Square, the team at Beat Hotel has a bunny-shaped surprise up their sleeves. On Easter Sunday, stop by between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for a la carte brunch – think spiced carrot soup, bibb lettuce salad, and baked spiral ham. Kids can enjoy their very own special menu with grilled cheese and chocolate chip pancakes just in time to go and play with the Easter Bunny himself. From 5 to 10 p.m., the Easter dinner menu kicks in with Buffalo cauliflower, grilled lamb chops, and of course, their famous earth bowls. Live jazz from various featured artists will be pumping the restaurant with cool and smooth atmosphere from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Bread and Salt at The Tasting Room at Sip
Do something exciting and different on Easter Sunday this year - stop by the opening of Sip's new Tasting Room where Josh Lewin and Katrina Jazayeri will be orchestrating a brunch pop-up.
Their Bread and Salt Hospitality group has just finished its stint at Wink & Nod and is already onto other great projects. Expect offerings in 3-, 5-, and 9-course menus. Book through Reserve and experience the first of what will be many such pop up concepts in this new and dynamic space.
Bistro Du Midi
As usual, chef Robert Sisca and his team at Bistro du Midi put on a tasty show for this holiday. What better way to start off your day than with a delectable Easter brunch overlooking the Boston Common? Begin with Belgian endive salad, smoked potato and leek soup, in-house pâté and other charcuterie selections, or tuna tartare. For mains, choose from citrus tea-cured salmon benedict with country toast and hollandaise, aged cheddar quiche, parmesan gnocchi or grilled rack of spring (finally!) lamb with crispy lamb belly and goat cheese truffles (supplement 15$). To round off your meal, order the vanilla mousseline with goat's milk caramel and espresso ice cream or apricot clafoutis. Pair each course with the help of sommelier expert Todd Lipman and you will find yourself in the best of hands from start to finish. The meal is $55 per person with beverages, tax, and gratuity not included.
Craigie on Main
Chef Tony Maws and his team at Craigie on Maine will be serving a special Easter Brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. On this Sunday, head to this famous restaurant for a three-course prix fixe. Starting with a basket of homemade pastries, dive into a fresh mango smoothie or bowl of crispy quinoa, granola, and yogurt. Second course options include a smoked fish bagel plate with sturgeon rillettes and sea trout, slow roasted leg of lamb, fried eggs, more smoked fish and matzo ball soup (a nod to our friends celebrating Passover!), or house-made Emmer wheat spaghetti with rabbit sausage. After this delectable feast, finish off with crispy fruit blitz or a chocolate pot de crème. The prix fixe menu is $50 per person, with tax and gratuity not included; children 12 and under get their meal for half off.
From MRA restauranteur of the year, Chris Coombs, his Back Bay French restaurant has a superb dinner waiting prepared for you and your family this Easter. Start off with a light dish like heirloom beets and goat cheese salad; or go straight to the hearty French cuisine with 9-hour French onion soup; “frisée aux lardons” with smoked duck confit, crispy six minute farm egg, and bacon mushroom vinaigrette. Move on to Colorado Lamb loin with braised lamb ravioli, prime Spinalis steak, or go the seafood route with potato crusted halibut or butter poached Scituate lobster. For dessert, choose their Meyer lemon bavarois or perhaps something more traditional, like their caramelized carrot cake. Either way, you will enjoy it all for 75$ per person. Opt for any of their wonderful selection of wines as well and it'll be an Easter to remember.
On Marina Park Drive, executive chef Salvatore Firicano offers both an à la carte menu as well as an Italian three course-meal at Strega Waterfront. Begin with prosciutto bocconcini with roasted red peppers, oysters Rockefeller, or wild mushroom ravioli. Continue on with honey-glazed ham with mashed sweet potatoes and Tuscan vegetables, or braised lamb shank with creamy polenta, and finish off with tiramisu, cannoli, or crème brûlée. It is an Italian feast for the finest, served from 12 to 9 p.m., for 49$ per person, with beverages, tax, and gratuity not included.
Over in Arlington, chef Paul Turano will serve an Easter brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tryst. For $28 per person, get to your happy place with a kale and Brussel sprouts or spinach and apple salad, corned beef hash, potato and cabbage pierogis, eggs benedict, or brown sugar French toast. An à la carte kids menu is also available and reservations are required.
Where to Eat on Easter 2015 in Boston - Recipes
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Eating ham at Easter dates back to at least sixth-century Germany
Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe
Just as sure as small children will hunt colored eggs and refrains of Peter Cottontail will lodge in your head, a ham will be front and center on most American tables this Easter.
While the rest of the world celebrates the arrival of spring with lamb, the pink, salty-sweet slices of cured pork, slathered in a sticky glaze, have become the tradition. Eating ham at Easter dates back to at least the sixth century in Germany, says Bruce Kraig, founder of Culinary Historians of Chicago and author of “Man Bites Dog.”
Pigs, says Kraig, are ecologically forest-adapted animals. They thrived in Northern Europe, where farmers let pigs roam the abundant woodlands to forage for acorns and roots. Slaughtered and hung in the autumn, pigs were one of the few meats available to eat at the early spring festival. When Christianity spread northward, it merged with the pagan spring celebration of Eostre, the goddess of the rising dawn. A convenient uniting of traditions was born, with ham at the center of the feast. Early American settlers brought pigs from Northern Europe to the New World, where they were not native.
Today, after decades of spiral-cut and other sweet, pink, commodity hams, consumers are demanding humanely raised, all natural meat. A small niche of the American pork market is offering pasture-raised animals with no artificial color, hormones, or antibiotics added in the curing process. The nitrates in the meat necessary for preservation result from a natural salting process without extra additives.
A traditional Easter ham is typically cured in brine or salt and smoked, which means it is fully cooked, and only needs to be reheated. The variations are many: whole, half, bone-in, semi-bone, or boneless. A leftover bone, which many cooks want, can be used for another meal, like a bean soup, but the meat may be harder to slice.
For boneless ham, count on ¼-pound per person for a bone-in ham, allow ⅓ pound per person. In both cases, round up the amount you buy.
- Once your roast is done, you can take a package of dry brown gravy mix and the drippings from the pan to make a delicious gravy. Follow the directions on the mix.
- I sometimes like to cook whole new potatoes and baby carrots in the pan with the pork roast. You can cook them separately if you want to and add them to the roast when it is done.
- Add BBQ sauce to the leftover pork to make BBQ pulled pork. It will be really delicious this way. Serve it on buns with slaw for a deliciously tasty treat.
What Else Can I Do With the Roast?
You can use a package of dry brown gravy mix and the drippings from the pan to make a delicious gravy. You can also add BBQ sauce to the leftover pork to make BBQ pulled pork.
With an up-close shot like this, you can tell how juicy and yummy this roast is.
60+ of Our Favorite Easter Dinner Recipes for a Truly Celebrational Feast
From drinks to dinner, sides to dessert, we've got the entire menu sorted.
Sure, winter holidays meals are great. But if you ask us, the best holiday feast of them all is Easter dinner. It's (typically) cool enough that the idea of warming up the kitchen with a big roast doesn't feel entirely out of the question, and yet there are a ton of great vegetables that are suddenly in season: asparagus, radishes, peas, and artichokes, just to name a few.
Whether you need delicious Easter side dishes, like the shaved asparagus salad or pearl couscous with leeks, or satisfying main courses such as the prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin or cedar plank salmon, these recipes will be your guide. Don't forget about making a delicious Easter cake or dessert, such as the candy egg peanut butter blondies or orange-chamomile cake!
Starbucks store hours for Easter Sunday vary by location, so you should use the Starbucks Store locator to determine the hours at your nearest store before you make the trek. Limited in-store seating is now available in some areas depending on local regulations, and almost all locations are open for curbside pickup, drive-thru, and delivery service. FYI, you may even be able to find a secret Cadbury Egg Frappuccino.
If you&rsquore in the mood for shrimp Alfredo or a platter of seafood, you can get takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery from your local Red Lobster for lunch or dinner. You should also take advantage of the many family meal deals, but be sure to call your local Red Lobster ahead of time to get their hours.
Boston Market Is Offering a Massive Easter Dinner Spread for Takeout and Delivery
Look: pretty much no matter where you live or how you celebrate, Easter and Passover are going to look a bit different in 2020. Social distancing will inevitably shrink the size of your get-together, and frankly the act of taking a day off from cooking and doing dishes feels like a holiday in and of itself at this point.
But just because Easter egg hunts are happening indoors and Passover Seders will be held over Zoom doesn’t mean the day has to be a letdown food-wise. Thankfully, Boston Market has put together a whole Easter Basket menu full of special “heat and serve” takeout options for delivery or pickup that can keep your family fed and happy in these weird times.
Though the chain’s claim to fame is its rotisserie chicken, ham and turkey are the primary protein options here. You can build a meal that includes one or the other, or both if you really want to get nutty with it. There are a variety of combinations and permutations, with options made for 12 people (which seems like it would violate social distancing guidelines in most homes) available for $119.99, or the more realistic four to six-person platters which retail for $69.99 or $84.99.
If you order that 12-person order of spiral-sliced or boneless honey-glazed ham, you’ll get four pounds of mashed potatoes and mac and cheese, plus two pounds of gravy, creamed spinach, and sweet potato casserole. That’s rounded out by 12 pieces of fresh-baked cornbread and two nine-inch apple pies. Opting for the 𠇎ssential” four to six-person order of ham gives you two pounds of gravy, mashed potatoes, and sweet corn plus six pieces of cornbread, while the 𠇌omplete” edition throws in two pounds of sween corn, 12 ounces of cranberry walnut relish, and a nine-inch apple pie. Choosing to plan your Easter dinner around the roast turkey breast instead of ham will deprive you of the sweet potato casserole and the mac and cheese, so choose wisely.
If you𠆝 rather mix and match, two-pound trays of those sides (plus twelve pieces of cornbread) can be purchased as a la carte options. The ham and turkey can also be purchased individually if you𠆝 rather do the Easter sides at home while outsourcing the main course.
While Boston Market locations are open for takeout on Easter, you’re going to want to get your order in ahead of time to make sure everything is set. As a bonus, if you place an order before April 8, you can take an additional $10 off at checkout. Orders are available for pickup starting on April 10 (Good Friday).
You’ve got enough to deal with besides trying to plan a holiday meal like this while quarantined. There’s plenty of time to cook for your in-laws once the world is a normal place again.
Boston Cream Pie
For everyone who entered the giveaway, thank you! I read every single comment and love hearing your feedback. I had a lot of comments from you saying that you were new cooks just starting out in the kitchen.
This Boston Cream Pie is the perfect dessert for you because it’s a semi-homemade dessert that looks impressive but really is a cinch.
Usually I think from scratch recipes taste way better than the semi-homemade option but this is one of those that you really cannot tell the difference.
Creamy custard mix is sandwiched between fluffy cake layers and topped with a decadent chocolate sauce.
The middle kind of reminds me of this Banana Pudding. Equally as decadent.
This dessert comes from my friend Bridian who shares the same love for food and baking that I do.
When I first moved to Florida I had just my oldest son and had never used a babysitter besides my family. I was super anxious when my husband had a work function and I needed a sitter.
Bridian came to my rescue. She was 14 years old at the time but was used to tending and cooking for her family of eight.
I called her probably five times to check on him in the two hours we were gone but of course, he was fine.
Seven years later, Bridian’s off experiencing college life. We’ve recently been bonded by some of the same life experiences. She has quite the story. I love reading about her college life and all night baking escapades here.
She’s one of those people that just has a way with words and I can’t stop reading. Thanks Bridian for this recipe.
Fork lift: How to make perfect pork chops
BAJA’S BEST: Favorites at Loco include, guacamole, above Hama Hama oysters, surf and turf tacos, fluke ceviche and fish tacos.
Pork chop, boiled potatoes and vegetables.
BAJA’S BEST: Favorites at Loco include, clockwise from left, guacamole, Hama Hama oysters, surf and turf tacos, fluke ceviche and fish tacos.
Oh, those dried out pork chops! Never again. Try this method of reverse searing for great flavor and caramelization. For two center-cut bone-in chops, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of fine sea salt. Mix and rub well into both sides of chops. Refrigerate on a rack over a baking sheet uncovered for eight hours or overnight.
When ready, bring chops to room temperature at least one hour before cooking, then preheat oven to 250 degrees and bake them until an internal temperature of 120 degrees is reached (about 30 minutes).
Remove from oven and heat 2 tablespoons of butter or oil in a large saucepan, and over high heat, sear the chops well on both sides. This should take about three minutes each side depending on how thick the chops are. I like mine cooked to between 145-150 degrees internally.
Best brunch spots in Boston
1. Rosebud American Kitchen
We envision a world where brunch is a thing the whole week through&mdashand Rosebud is out there in Somerville making our dreams come true. The restaurant, whose hip space features an old diner car, serves brunch everyday from its Davis Square kitchen. From its stack of Plain Jane Pancakes to the Kitchen Sink Salad, Rosebud has a dish that will please every member of your party. Helpful tidbit: We recommend getting the Kentucky Iced Coffee, a deceivingly boozy cold brew that makes your morning caffeine hit even stronger.
Stillwater might be the only reason you&rsquoll ever need to be in Downtown Crossing before 2pm on a weekend. The Kingston Street eatery offers craft comfort food with slightly Southern flair, and its brunch dishes are no exception. Take your pick from elevated down-home items like hot honey chicken and biscuits, Okie eggs benedict, Texas toast breakfast sandwich or smoked pork mac and cheese&mdashjust block off ample time to nap off that food coma afterwards.
3. Buttermilk & Bourbon
You can laissez les brunch temps rouler at Buttermilk & Bourbon. Located across the street from the tranquil Comm Ave. Mall, this restaurant is an ode to New Orleans, bringing big Louisiana flavors to breakfast. Whether you&rsquore chowing down on the crawfish étouffée hand pies, low country scramble or house special buttermilk fried chicken with cheddar-bourbon waffles, it&rsquos going to be like Mardi Gras in your mouth. When in doubt, go for the freshly fried beignets and the warm honey biscuits because you only brunch once (a day).
4. Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant
The rare restaurant that offers brunch seven days a week, this welcoming Southie hangout has developed a reputation for deliciously sinful brunch treats. In addition to the restaurant's steady stream of daily specials, its regular mouthwatering eye-openers include Fruity Pebbles pancakes, dark chocolate waffles and hashbrowns loaded with bacon and cheddar. The weekday and weekend brunch menus vary, so if you have your stomach set on a certain dish, be sure to double check it'll be there beforehand.
There&rsquos no better way to say &ldquobonjour&rdquo to the weekend than a bucket of bubbles and a perfectly crisp croque monsieur from Rochambeau. With French favorites like steak frites and tarte flambée (that&rsquos an Alsatian bacon, egg and cheese pizza), this Back Bay bistro adds an air of sophistication to brunch while you casually chug a carafe of sparkling wine. We suggest grabbing a table on the patio for one of the best people-watching vantage points on all of Boylston Street.
Honestly, everyday should begin with a bowl of chips and guac, but we&rsquoll settle for just the weekends at Cósmica. This South End spot breathes new life into tired guests with a menu of Mexican-inspired morning eats, like chilaquiles verde, egg quesadillas and breakfast tacos. For folks in dire need of a &ldquohair of the dog&rdquo fix, there are plenty of alcoholic remedies offered, including its tequila-heavy bloody maria and on-tap house margarita. Vaya a Cósmica and vaya con Dios.
7. Myers + Chang
This South End institution is home to one of the city &rsquo s coolest dim sum scenes on the weekends. Local couples and packs of culinary enthusiasts gather to share small dishes from the lengthy brunch menu, much of which veers into veg-heavy territory. Inviting options run the gamut &mdash from edamame and wasabi potstickers to tea-smoked spare ribs. Refreshing cold salads provide a cooling counterpoint to spicy dishes like the fiery tofu bao.
For more than four decades, this refined Harvard Square restaurant has set the local standard for farm-to-table dining. Sunday brunch service offers a decidedly grownup affair (no hangover hash here). Culinary gems include a strawberry rhubarb salad, salmon tartare tostada and fried chicken and foie gras waffles. Come summer, a seat on the garden terrace is one of the most coveted brunch options in Cambridge.
One word comes to mind when we think about the weekend brunch at this Greek wine bar: opa! Whether you're splitting a bougatsa (a sweet custard and phyllo pie) or demolishing the loukaniko sausage strata, you'll feel like you died and went to Mount Olympus. Because the name of this Back Bay joint literally means wine, it's almost imperative to order a cocktail featuring Greek bubbles &mdash try the Krasi Mimosa with mango juice and dill or the Aphrodite Bellini with ouzo-infused apricots.
10. Alden & Harlow
Chef-owner Michael Scelfo churns out some of Cambridge's most inventive weekend brunch offerings. Pickled corn pancakes jockey for attention alongside the likes of hickory smoked pig tails with cheese crisps, grits, and a soft poached egg. Lighter options include local burrata with spring onion jam, or what's billed as the "ubiquitous" kale salad, featuring shaved fennel, pistachio, and lemon. Plus, the bar's Szechuan Bloody Mary provides a textbook hair-of-the-dog option for those in need.
11. Bar Mezzana
For Sunday brunch by way of Italy, stop by this South End hotspot. Located within the Ink Block complex, this restaurant specializes in coastal Italian fare. Menu highlights include spaghetti with prosciutto and lemon, polenta with mushroom ragù and poached eggs, as well as brioche toast served with an optional black truffle burrata accompaniment. When the weather allows, opt for a table on the sunny sidewalk patio and slurp down an affogato.
12. Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery
A beloved Somerville fixture for nearly 30 years, this family-owned restaurant is known for its huge portions of American breakfast favorites prepared with a Portuguese spin &mdash all served on the cheap. The Union Square spot has developed practically a cult following for its cream of wheat, and we highly suggest you order anything that comes with linguica. The vine-covered patio makes it a popular choice when the weather is warmer.
Weekend brunch at Committee is all Greek to us, and we love it. This Seaport eatery serves Hellenic reinterpretations of brunch basics &mdashthink baklava oatmeal and Greek yogurt pancakes &mdash as well as morning meze plates like zucchini crisps and sesame-crusted feta. The breakfast gyro &mdashthat's scrambled eggs, grilled halloumi, loukaniko and Florina pepper coulis wrapped in pita &mdash is a house favorite. When the weather allows, the breezy outdoor patio is a great spot for people-watching.
14. Trina’s Starlite Lounge
This Inman Square haunt may be the only spot in town to offer brunch on Monday nights in addition to the normal Saturday-Sunday schedule. The odd timing might cater to restaurant industry workers, but anyone can stop by to enjoy scrambled egg rolls and pizza bagels. Other temptations: a brunch burger and weekly pop tart specials. The bar whips up a bevy of creative booze-forward drinks to accompany your brunch bites &mdashmorning or night .
15. Boston Chops
Befitting a modern steakhouse, Boston Chops really leans into the meat for its Sunday brunch service. Carnivores have their pick of the menu with dishes like the steak and egg burrito, juicy 8-oz burger or linguini bolognaise prepared with beef, veal and pancetta. Guests who are looking to lay off the red meat can also find their fair share of options, including vegetarian huevos rancheros and the crab cake benedict.
16. Loyal Nine
For a historically-minded Sunday brunch, look no further than Loyal Nine. This East Cambridge kitchen is celebrated for its slew of longtime New England classics reinvented for modern-day palates. This approach provides eaters with the a rare opportunity to start the day with items like crispy fried steel-cut oats with seasonal vegetables, spicy baked beans with poached eggs, pesto and toast, as well as a fried oyster roll on a toasted potato bun.
Sinless Sweets: Where and When to Eat the Ten Best Saintly Desserts
“Sinless” desserts… Does anyone actually enjoy those bizarre chemical confections that promise no gluten, no fat, no sugar, and absolutely no enjoyment whatsoever? Get behind me, Splenda. Let me introduce you to my top ten favorite guilt-free desserts.
Sure these regional delicacies are loaded with sugar, but they were all created to celebrate Catholic saints, so what could be more sinless? For the most authentic experience, eat them on the corresponding saint’s day in their hometowns — after all, there’s a reason these celebrations are called “feasts.”
Passion fruit raspados (photograph by AnelGTR/Wikimedia)
Where to eat it: Izapalapa DF, Mexico
When to eat it: Semana Santa (Holy Week)
Holy Week is a somber stretch of holidays culminating in Black Saturday — a day so dark that even churches stay locked up. It’s the most austere period of the liturgical year so it might seem like an odd time to think about dessert. But in Mexico, every custom leading up to Easter is symbolic.
Raspados, sweetened shaved ice, represent the sweet tears of the Virgin Mary and are particularly nice after sitting in an un-air conditioned cathedral for a few hours in the spring. Though some vendors use snow cone-like syrups, be sure to try the uniquely Mexican flavors like tamarind, mango-chili, or sweetened condensed milk with cinnamon. You can find cart vendors all over the DF, but check out the ones in Izapalapa, a borough know for its elaborate Passion play that lasts all week and includes a cast of thousands.
The Virgin Mary in tears (detail of 15th century painting) (via Unterlinden Museum)
9. Kremówka papieska
Where to eat it: Wadowice, Poland
When to eat it: October 22
In 1999, Pope John Paul II went back to his childhood home of Wadowice and casually reminisced about a particular type of cake he used to like as boy. It was a humble little dessert — layers of shortcrust pastry, custard, and puff pastry, assembled in a sheet pan and sold by the slice. It was primarily a way for bakers to recoup costs on leftover components of fancier desserts that would have otherwise been thrown out.
Overnight, this unremarkable trifle transformed into Papal Cream Cake. Now thanks to his immense popularity and canonization, you can even buy a slice in Rome.
Pope John Paul II at the Vatican (photograph by Bren Buenaluz)
Where to eat it: Paris, France
When to eat it: May 16
If your tastes are a little fancier than Pope St. John Paul II’s, head to Paris for a Saint-Honoré cake — a pastry so complex, it’s no wonder the pros named it after their patron saint.
It’s puff pastry, topped with a meringue-based pastry cream, topped with cream puffs, topped with caramelized sugar, topped with fresh whipped cream. The finished product is only slightly less miraculous than the legendary baker’s peel that sprouted roots and became a fruit tree when Honoré was appointed Bishop of Amiens.
Saint Honoré with some bakers (via Wikimedia)
7. Bigne di San Giuseppe
Where to eat it: Rome, Italy
When to eat it: March 19
Like many stepparents, St. Joseph doesn’t get the respect he deserves year round, but at least his feast day is a big deal in Italy where it’s essentially the equivalent of Father’s Day in the United States. No San Giuseppe feast would be complete with out the bigne, or zeppoli — sugar-covered fritters filled with custard or cannoli filling and topped with chocolate or candied cherries.
Though most people think of Joseph as a carpenter, he’s nicknamed “frittellaro” in Rome. According to local legend, he sold fried pancakes after the flight to Egypt to support Jesus and Mary, hence their inclusion in his feast day.
“Saint Joseph and the Christ Child” (late 17th-18th century), oil on canvas (via Brooklyn Museum)
Yemas de Santa Teresa (photograph by Tamorlan/Wikimedia)
6. Yemas de Santa Teresa
Where to eat it: Ávila, Spain
When to eat it: October 15
When Spanish winemakers needed to clarify wine, they sometimes added egg whites, which allowed tannins and other unwanted particles bind together for easy removal. But what do you do with all those leftover egg yolks?
Fortunately for us, the winemakers in Ávila decided to donate them to the local Carmelite convent. There, the nuns whipped up a confection dedicated to their most famous resident — St. Teresa of Ávila. Just looking twice at these little yellow candies might raise your blood pressure. They’re essentially just egg yolks and sugar with a bit of spice and water, but their slightly crunchy sugar shell and creamy interior makes them incredibly addictive — so much so that they’re available year-round at souvenir shops.
Where to eat it: Stockholm, Sweden
When to eat it: December 13
According to some versions of her legend, St. Lucy was so set against marrying her pagan suitor, when he admired her eyes she gouged them out and gave them to him. “Now leave me to God,” she quipped. He had her martyred by the Emperor Diocletian instead.
To this day, Lucy is usually depicted offering up her eyes on a plate and her feast celebrations in Sweden still honor this story. The eldest daughter in each family dons a white robe and serves her family saffron buns in the shape of eyes with raisins or currents for pupils. She wears a crown of candles to ward off the winter darkness, a symbol of Lucy’s spiritual light despite her blindness.
Domenico di Pace Beccafumi, “Saint Lucy” (1521), oil on panel (via Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena)
4. Cattern cakes
Where to eat it: Nottinghamshire, England
When to eat it: November 25
St. Catherine of Alexandria was famously sentenced to death on the wheel, an execution method designed to bludgeon the victim to death over a course of hours or days. She’s almost always shown next to this terrifying device. A martyr’s execution method is usually what makes them identifiable in imagery originally used to teach illiterate parishioners. But sometimes when medieval guilds would pick patron saints, they would base their choices on dubious readings of these images.
For example, St. Bartholemew, holding the knife that flayed him alive, was picked to be patron of the cheese mongers since it looked like he had a cheese knife in his hand. Thus, Catherine’s wheel became associated with spinsters and lace-makers. Yet the reason the lace-makers of Nottinghamshire make cakes on St. Catherine’s day has as much to do with a second Catherine as it does with the martyr. When a sluggish market threatened to put lace-makers out of a job, Catherine of Aragon was said to have burnt her lace dresses to create a demand for work. The scone-like cakes with spices, currants, and caraway seeds are dedicated to her as well as their patron saint with the wheel.
St. Catherine of Alexandria with the wheel (14th century marble) (via Walters Art Museum)
3. Minnuzze di Sant’Agata and Olivette di Sant’Agata
Where to eat it: Catania, Italy
When to eat it: February 5
If all this talk of St. Catherine’s wheel and St. Lucy’s gouged-out eyes seems a bit too much to take while you’re eating, go ahead and skip this entry. For those of you left, try two Sicilian treats commemorating St. Agatha.
Agatha was a virgin-martyr who had her breasts ripped off by her torturers. And yes, those “minnuzze” are absolutely cakes in the shape of her amputated breasts with a cherry on top representing the nipple. The cake underneath is a tooth-achingly sweet combination of vanilla sponge cake, a dome of sweetened ricotta, and a glaze of pistachio goo all topped with hardened sugar frosting.
For a less graphic take on her legend, pick up the green and black olives of St. Agatha. The green ones are sugar-encrusted marzipan, the black are chocolate-covered marzipan. These commemorate the miraculous olive tree that sprouted where Agatha stopped to tie her shoe on her way to be martyred.
Sebastiano del Piombo, “Martyrdom of Saint Agatha” (1520), oil on panel (via Pitti Palace)
Spice cookies similar to the recipe written by St. Hildegard (photograph by Slastic/Wikimedia)
Where to eat it: Bingen am Rhein, Germany
When to eat it: September 17
Lurking at the bottom of every news website in between “shocking celebrity photos” and “unbelievable insurance savings” is that suspicious ad for ”incredible diet cookies” that promise the ability to snack yourself slim. If you’ve ever been tempted to click on that ad, then I have a saintly dessert for you.
The recipe for Hildegardplätzchen, or ”cookies of joy,” was written by St. Hildegard herself around 1100. This mystical Doctor of the Church was a bit of a medieval Dr. Oz. She wrote plays and music but also wrote extensively on medicine based on her experience working in the herb garden and treating her fellow nuns. She said of her spice cookies made with cloves and nutmeg: “Eat them often and they will calm every bitterness of heart and mind — and your hearing and senses will open. Your mind will be joyous, and your senses purified, and harmful humours will diminish”.
1. Huesos de Santos
Where to eat it: Madrid, Spain
When to eat it: November 1
These are my personal favorite. If you read the description of the “Yolks of St. Teresa” and thought, “Yeah that sounds good… but make them richer, sweeter, and a little terrifying,” these Spanish candies are for you.
Huesos de Santos, or “bones of the saints,” are sheets of white marzipan rolled around an egg-yolk filling. They’re meant to resemble bones with gooey marrow inside. You can find them around All Saints’ Day as a reminder of the relics or the venerated bones of the saints often found in Catholic churches. They’re the perfect accompaniment to a day spent taking in the elaborate floral displays at the local cemeteries in Madrid.
Read more about the strange lives and afterlives of the saints at Elizabeth Harper’s All the Saints You Should Know.
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