80s Food Week Easter Edition: UK
Easter in the UK is a slightly different deal than the US celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. For one, kids manage to wrangle off a fortnight (that’s 14 days) from school compared to our once Good Friday to Easter Monday that’s dwindled down in some schools to Easter Sunday itself (can you say complete jip? Nobody goes to school on Sunday! Except for…ahem…Sunday School and try arguing having a holiday off Sunday School on Easter.)
Christian British families of course attend church and just like in America, if you haven’t made it to church all year for anything other than funerals and weddings you tend to get there for the holiest day of the year. There a couple of slight differences in the Lent/Easter calendar to observe: Lent, the 40 day period before Easter is kicked off by Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday in the UK where over here we get it going with Mardi Gras. They eat pancakes (more like crepes to the American palate), we eat King Cake. They break Lent up with Mothering Sunday and a Simnel Cake (a sort of fruit cake with 11 balls of marzipan on top representing the Apostles minus Judas), we leave Mother’s Day until after Easter and take Mum to Dairy Queen for an ice cream cake.
We both agree on Hot Cross Buns which aren’t so widely eaten outside the Catholic/ Lutheren/ Episcopal churches here but if you haven’t had one they’re basically little spiced buns with raisins or currants and an icing cross over the top representing The Cross- yes, that one unless you know of another. And of course the UK has an Easter Bunny though he very well may have an accent.
Not growing up in the UK I rely on my husband’s eloquence about the grand old Easters of yore (read: 80s) when they congregated around a table full of Easter eggs and Cadbury’s made up any yearly deficits in profits within the 48 hours between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Let’s face it, Hallmark invented Valentine’s Day for the Americas and Cadbury’s cornered Easter- they got the bunny, and the eggs. I’m not talking a table full of little Creme Eggs, I’m talking big monster eggs from the major candy manufacturers- hollow eggs in special boxes containing small versions of popular candy bars either in the eggs themselves or in the packaging. So you may have an Aero egg with a couple of small Aero bars or a Smarties Egg filled with Smarties or this year I saw a Smarties egg box shaped like a barn with a cow-shaped chocolate filled with mini Smarties. At any rate this is what British children are hoping to score from the Big Bun. Getting them here is a challenge and a large expense but we always manage- these are a couple I have on authority from the Rabbit himself are going to be found in the Quayle Easter baskets this year…
Eggs aren’t the only treats that may pop up on UK tables… many candy companies put out other special merchandise this time of year to complete the Easter experience such as these funky square Cadbury mugs. All I’m saying is, let’s ditch those little foil eggs and get some real loot!
Cadbury’s Caramel Bunny ad courtesy HallOfAdvertising