|| Polish Easter Foods
Baranek Wielkanocny (Easter Lamb) *
Importance of Easter Foods
Polish Easter Cakes * Polish Easter
Soup (Zurek) * More Food
Baranek Wielkanocny * Easter
The Easter Lamb bearing a cross-emblazoned
flag (Resurrection Banner) represents Christ
Resurrected and is thus the typical Polish Easter symbol. At the center
of Catholic Mass is the sacrifice of the Lamb of God in the Eucharist.
The lamb adorns greeting cards; sugar lambs are blessed in Easter baskets
and plaster lambs form the centerpiece of the Swiecone table.
The sugar lambs are most often blessed in children's baskets as a sweet
Typically the table also includes a butter
lamb shaped by hand, in a mold, or purchased from delis and Polish markets.
This lamb is always included in the basket to be blessed.
The lamb also appears in the dessert form
of the Lamb Cake, a pound cake shaped and decorated, often sitting atop
Easter grass, and always carrying the Resurrection
* See the plaster Easter Lamb
* See the Lamb Cake
* See sugar Lambs
* See hand-crafted straw Lamb
* See Wycinanki (Polish Paper Cutting) Lamb
* If you live outside Polonia, purchase
a butter lamb mold online
Polish Easter Cakes
The most typical Polish Easter cake, virtually
universal, is the Babka [bob-kuh], a rich bread-like cake,
often shaped in a "bundt" shape, reminiscent of a woman's skirts, hence
its name Babka (Grandmother Cake). An ingenious form is often
used in the U.S. when the cake is baked into a coffee can. (Often mini
Easter babka, Babeczka, is blessed for the
children.) Also prominent are the lamb cake, the Polish specialty of Makowiec
[ma-ko-vee-ets](poppy seed cake), Sernik [sair-neek] (Polish
style cheesecake) and other sweets.
* Babka recipe with illustration
* Makowiec recipe (Poppy Seed Cake) with
* Sernik recipe (Polish cheese cake) with
Zurek Wielkanocny *
Polish Easter Soup
Zurek [zhooh-rek] is often served at
the Easter meal, garnished with the hard-boiled eggs and Polish sausage
(kielbasa) of the celebration. This "white borscht" is made
from a starter called Zur, a sour starter similar to that
used in sourdough bread.
* Zurek recipe with illustration
The importance of Easter foods
The centrality of food, celebration and hospitality
to Polish Easter are reflected in the most typical Polish proverb:
"Gosc w Dom, Bog w Dom."
The proverb is realized in everyday Polish life through
the legendary Polish hospitality, especially concerning food. Stranger
or friend is always welcome and never bid farewell without a serving of
food, even in the most modest of circumstances.
(Guest in the home is God in the home.)
"Czem chata bogata, tem rada."
Lemnis and Vitry's study of Old Polish cookery in
the Middle ages presents two medieval fragments from old Polish Palm Sunday
songs. These charming fragments show the eagerness for the Easter feast
following Lenten austerity:
(The little cottage shares what it has.)
To Poles, the holiest of all edibles is bread. Often when
cutting into a loaf or round initially, the knife is maneuvered so as
to make the Sign of the Cross. When bread is dropped to the floor (a sacrilege),
the loaf is often kissed when picked up. This sacredness, so valued by
Polish culture, is reflected in the Easter bread which is especially marked
with a Cross (in contemporary times, often a purple paper decal.) The
purple hue reflects the color of liturgical vestments and altar linens
during the Lenten season. It is indicative of the Lord's Passion. Thus
two predominant Easter foods are Beet Salad (Buraczki) (a
deep purple) and beet-colored Horseradish (Chrzan).
And stuffed kielbasy are good
Let me, Christ, taste this
Let me see these Easter delicacies.
I shall praise you that you are good, Lord,
When I eat some ham for breakfast.
* Horseradish (Chrzan)
recipe (Central to Polish Easter meals; a condiment for ham and hard-boiled
* Buraczki (Beet Salad) recipe
For more Polish Easter Foods, explore
the Swieconka basket and its
symbolism. For more recipes and illustrations, also see the Easter Meal,