As Easter falls upon us this weekend, many people will gather together with their families to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. Most of these familial celebrations include some type of meal and perhaps even an Easter egg hunt for the little ones, filled with candy, little knick-knacks, and, if the kids are really lucky, money. Most likely, that meal will include some form of ham. But have you ever wondered why?
Ham: The Easter Tradition
Back in the days when people relied on animals for food, they usually had one cow, which they relied on for milk, not meat. Spring was the season in which baby animals were born, so although there may have been new baby chicks and piglets, they weren’t an option for an Easter meal. Nor was spring the time to hunt, because the animals weren’t fat enough to deliver enough meat. If the owners were sheep herders, they may have been lucky enough to have a piece of lamb to eat for Easter, but not many Americans were sheep herders. The only remaining piece of meat to eat was the big preserved ham that was held back from butchering in the fall specifically for Easter.
Prices Spikes Might Change Many Minds This Year When Deciding On Buying Hams
Although ham is the most popular dish of choice for Easter brunch, many might be changing their minds this year, as ham prices have spiked due to the increase in pig feed over the past two years. According to the BostonHerald.com, Ham has been selling wholesale for 75 to 80 cents per pound this spring, which is in line with last year’s prices but well above the 55 cents per pound average for the previous five years.
Some people went as far as buying their ham over the Christmas holiday when sales were going on, in order to be able to afford feeding their families the “wanted” meat on Easter. But places like food pantries that aim to feed hundreds, if not thousands, on Easter Sunday, may not be so lucky. As prices have been increasing, it seems the only way that food pantries and kitchens can afford to serve hundreds of hams is through the giving of generous donors. Unfortunately, donations have been down in the past couple of years, according to the BostonHerald.com, and, most of the donations given to food pantries seem to be food staples, such as pasta, soup, and bread. So, if you’re celebrating with your family this year with a glazed ham, think of those in need that are missing out. Then contact your local food bank or food rescue—such as Second Helpings, located in Indianapolis, IN—and donate a small (or large!) monetary gift or ham to them. There will be many mouths that will thank you.