No it isn’t a new fad, it is tradition. Saturday night in Orthodox Churches around the world, Easter services will be held. They will end about 2:30 – 3:00 AM. Then the tradition is for the congregation to gather in the Church hall for the Easter feast. It will be nice, after 40 days fasting , to eat meat again. My dad , with his ever so handy helper ( guess who ), used to prepare the lamb for the meal. We both have since been retired from this duty the last two years. What this entailed was spending most of Saturday, before Church, in the Church kitchen preparing the meal that hundreds would soon be eating.

My dad was in charge of the lambs. He knew the temperature of each of the 6 ovens and exactly how long a leg of lamb needed to cook in each one. Many times his handy little helper would hear ” You left it in the oven 3 minutes longer than necessary, I hope it is still edible”.  ( at 3AM and after fasting 40 days and really no where else to go, who is going to turn down the food? ).

Being the handy helper though did have certain perks. I was the taste tester, you know “Taste this piece of lamb to make sure it is cooked enough. And taste these dolmathes ( grape leaves ) or Greek potatoes, just to be sure”. Of course I also would always taste a baklava, just to make sure those little old Greek ladies had done a proper job earlier in the week. Besides, you can’t finish off a proper meal without dessert.