When my daughter was very young, she asked during one Easter dinner, “Did Jesus eat crescent rolls with his ham on Easter, too?”

Around the world, Jews and Christians observe Passover or Easter with family and friends, sitting down and sharing a delicious meal that is always a big topic of conversation. In Christian homes someone inevitably asks, “What did Jesus eat?” Uncle Fred yawns, the kids run off to play, and the cousins debate whether or not the Last Supper was a Passover meal. I just figure, Passover or not, Jesus probably knew it was the last decent meal he’d have, and made it a good one.

what-would-jesus-eat-cookbookSometimes I try to imagine what was on that table. Probably not the eel that DaVinci favored, and depicted in his famous painting; more likely, what is typically on a Seder plate: bitter herbs, spring greens, roasted egg, and lamb.

No doubt the women preparing the meal would create their best dishes. They would choose from olives, peas, chickweed, wild asparagus, dried figs, dates, barley and wheat from the previous harvest. Talk about fresh and local! Unleavened bread and wine would accompany the meal. Jesus and his followers chose to live in poverty, and would not have eaten lamb, a rich man’s food, very often. But there would be lamb for Passover.

LambPlateModern Passover and Easter meals still follow the spirit of those ancient meals. We use a mix of the freshest available springtime goods combined with the last of the winter stores, and we add to it our own personal stamp with favorite seasonings and traditional family dishes. No one wants to miss out on Aunt Ruth’s scalloped potatoes.

I suppose you’re wondering what I said to my daughter. Frankly, I don’t remember. Most likely I gave her a careful and way too thorough explanation of why Jesus didn’t eat crescent rolls or ham. I don’t even remember the inevitable Easter egg hunt in the early morning. But I do remember the love and the joy of that Easter dinner.

Lamb is always a big favorite at Easter dinner, and traditional on the Passover table. Try this wonderful recipe from the kitchen of Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins, founders of The Silver Palate. Want to make it a little more authentic? Prepare it instead with their Fresh Mint Marinade.


TheNewCookingBasicsRack of Lamb for Two


From The New Basics Cookbook

2 tablespoons coarsely ground cornmeal

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

1 clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 rack of lamb for two, cut in half

1 to 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Combine the cornmeal, salt and pepper in a small bowl, and mix well.
  3. Lightly brush the fat side of the racks with the mustard. Then coat the mustard with the cornmeal mixture.
  4. Arrange the racks on a baking sheet, and cook 25 minutes for medium-rare. Slice the chops apart and serve immediately.


Two portions


Variation: Lamb with Fresh Mint Marinade


¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves

¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

¼ cup chopped scallions (green onions)

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a small bowl, combine the mint, basil, scallions, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and rub over lamb. Cover the lamb and refrigerate overnight.


Preheat the oven to 400F and cook as explained in step #4.