Effectively this is where the pagan celebration with food and cakes, to mark the end of lent, mixes with the religious significance of Easter.
Chocolate Eggs and Bunnies are not a Spanish tradition and they are not readily found in the shops. The so called Â“Monas de PascuaÂ”, cakes or chocolate shapes with a surprise inside and traditionally given to children on Easter Monday, are probably the nearest equivalent, although mainly in Catalonia.
Among the popular Easter symbols, the lamb is by far the most significant of this great feast. In past centuries it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb, especially at Easter time. The Easter lamb, representing Christ, with the flag of victory, may be seen in pictures and images in the homes of every central and eastern European family.
Lamb for Easter lunch is traditional in most Christian countries; it certainly is very popular at any time in the U.K.
One serving of cooked lamb is equal to 3 ounces and is about the size of a deck of cards. An average 3-ounce serving of lamb contains about 176 calories, which is comparable to many other types of red meat and poultry.
Lamb Nutritional Facts
Lamb is a great source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. A regular 3-ounce serving averages about 43% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein. It also averages 74% of the RDA of vitamin B-12, 30% of the zinc, 30% of the niacin, 17% of the iron, and 15% of the riboflavin. In addition to this, the correct ratio of all 8 of the essential amino acids is contained in lamb meat.
Many people are concerned with the saturated fat and cholesterol content in foods, which has caused them to reduce or eliminate their consumption of red meat. However, lamb and other red meats, when eaten in moderation, can be part of a healthy diet. Only about 36% of the fat in lamb is saturated. The remainder of the fat is in the healthier forms of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. When shopping for lamb, select lean cuts and use low fat cooking methods such as roasting, broiling, grilling, braising, or stewing.
The leanest cuts of lamb have an average of 70 to 80 mg. of cholesterol. This compares very well to a skinless chicken breast, which has 70 mg. of cholesterol per 3 ounce serving. It is recommended that no more than 300 mg. of cholesterol per day should be consumed, so 2 or 3 servings of lean lamb per day allows plenty of room before reaching the maximum recommended level.
Lamb has less marbling than other meats, which means that most of the visible fat is contained on the outside edges. Trimming the excess fat is helpful in reducing saturated fat and cholesterol, however doing this before the lamb is cooked can make it tougher and less flavoursome, especially if the meat is broiled, roasted, or grilled. It is usually preferable to trim the fat after cooking because the fat layer protects the meat from drying out during the cooking process. Some of the fat melts during cooking and is absorbed into the meat. This acts as a natural tenderizer, but also adds some saturated fat and cholesterol to the meat. Even if the fat layer is left on, it should not be consumed, because it is not very flavoursome on its own and is actually quite unpleasant after it has cooled.