The Easter holiday has a special meaning for me. As a child, Easter meant everything was fresh and new.

My mother always bought me a pretty dress and beautiful shoes to wear for the special Easter Sunday church service. After church, she prepared a lovely dinner with a lemon meringue pie, and baskets of foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and bunnies for dessert.

As an adult and as a Christian, I still look at the spring season as a time of renewal, but for me, it’s more about inward spiritual reflection, repentance, gratitude and rebirth. My life as a Christian is a celebration of the real meaning of Easter.

My Easter Sunday begins with a beautiful church service. I love listening to my husband, my daughter, my son-in-law and granddaughter sing with our church choir. Our pastor, Salem Robinson Jr., never fails to deliver an inspiring, thought-provoking sermon.

After church, I cook dinner using some of the recipes from my childhood. If you’re looking for a new way to prepare lamb, try my recipe for Roasted Lamb Chops with Crispy Shallots and Pomegranate Sauce.

The tradition of eating lamb on Easter has its roots in early Passover observances before the birth of Christianity. According to the biblical Exodus story, the people of Egypt suffered a series of terrible plagues, including the death of all firstborn sons. The Jews painted their doorposts with sacrificed lamb’s blood so that God would “pass over” their homes while carrying out the punishment.

Additionally, Christians refer to Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” because of his sacrifice on the cross. This is one of the many reasons why lamb is symbolically served at Easter.

Here are a few tips for preparing lamb:

  • Bring your meat up to room temperature before cooking.
  • Grass-fed meats require less cooking time — about 30% less is a good rule of thumb.
  • Allow steaks, chops and roasts to rest 5 to 10 minutes before cutting to allow the juices to re-absorb into the meat.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her website is www. divapro.com. © 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.

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