10 Food-based Traditions from the American South

Southern Easter Dinner
Ham is usually the centerpiece at Easter.
Ham is usually the centerpiece at Easter.

First, let's talk about the main dish -- the Easter ham. Why is ham eaten on Easter Sunday? You might think there's some complicated religious explanation for this, but it's actually quite simple. When Americans started celebrating Easter in the early days of their country, food came from the animals raised in the communities. Because there was no refrigeration, any meat left over after slaughter was cured for storing. It takes a while for meat to cure properly, and most hams were ready to eat come springtime. So, the Easter holiday also became a feasting holiday.

What other foods might you find on the table at Easter in the South? The previously mentioned deviled eggs, of course, and perhaps a scalloped potato casserole or asparagus as a side. Other possibilities include sweet potatoes, ambrosia salad and biscuits, plus sweet tea or peach tea to drink. For dessert, a lemon or coconut cake, or maybe some leftover Easter candy.