Easter

TANSY puddings at Easter were traditional, and were probably originally a Christian adaptation of the bitter herbs of the Passover. In many districts of England they were actually played for on Easter Monday, for a "tansy" can also be a merry-making (Opie & Opie. 1985), but they were actually made to be eaten with the meat course at dinner. One recipe speaks of finely-shredded leaves, beaten up with eggs and fried (Genders. 1977). Pepys provided a "tansy" for a dinner, but this was a sweet dish flavoured with tansy juice. By the 17th century tansies were a kind of scrambled egg made with cream and the juice of wheat blades, violet and strawberry leaves, spinach and walnut buds, plus grated bread, spices and salt, all sprinkled with sugar before serving. Tansy was no longer an ingredient, walnut buds being preferred (Burton), although most recipes that have survived insist on the proper herb ingredient. Sometimes it was the flowers that were used, in custards as well as other sorts of pudding, or the leaves could be steeped in milk to make cheeses and cakes. In Ludlow, Shropshire, there was a customary Easter dish of leg of pork stuffed with Robin-run-in-the-hedge, which is GROUND IVY (Burne. 1883). Devonshire Revel buns were baked on SYCAMORE leaves. These are Easter cakes, each cake being baked on its own individual leaf (Mabey. 1977), the point being that the imprint of the leaf should appear on the cake.

DAFFODILS, by their time of flowering, are associated with Easter. They are called Easter Lilies in Devon (Friend. 1882) and Somerset (Tongue. 1965), where they are also known as Easter Roses (Elworthy. 1888). Then there is Lent Lily, quite common as a name for them, and having many variations.

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