Updated: Apr 18
The following is my reflection that inspired me to create the Wine Poached Easter Eggs pictured above.
You can find the recipe here: Vegan Mulled Wine Poached Easter Egg
Reimagining the Easter Egg.
Sometimes traditions can become so commonplace their original meaning can get lost in the noise of familiarity and commercialism. This can be true with many of our holiday traditions. A great example of this is the common Easter egg. Many cultures and religions have used eggs to tell stories about spring and new life for thousands of years.
Egyptians, Persians, and Phoenicians believed the world began with an enormous egg. Persians, Greeks, and Chinese gave gifts of eggs during festivals as they celebrated spring.
In Jewish culture, the round shape of an egg represents the wheel of life that turns and reaches everyone when the ultimate fate of death touches us all. It's still a tradition to this day to serve a hard-boiled egg dipped in ashes as a symbol of mourning at a Jewish funeral symbolizing the end of life for the loved one that passed away.
The Christian use of eggs at Easter are inspired by a wide variety of these various cultures and traditions. The egg represents the birth of new life; after a long winter. Breaking open the egg is symbolic of Jesus breaking out of His tomb. Simple and straightforward. Nothing new here.
Currently, Easter Eggs have taken on a new meaning inspired by the entertainment industry. Authors, directors, and artists use the term "Easter Egg" to refer to a secret message, clue, or reference that they have cleverly hidden in their TV show, video game, or movie. They are a creator's personal love letter to their fans.
These Easter eggs can be simple cameos or images placed in the background. Only after you see it do you connect the dots to the bigger story that the author or director is telling. Alfred Hitchcock was famous for writing himself into 39 of his films. Marvel Comics author Stan Lee wrote himself into every Marvel movie until his recent passing.
Easter Eggs in movies can also be subtle references that can come in various ways. Various Easter eggs resembling R2-D2, the lovable droid from Star Wars, have popped up in many movies, including one of my personal favorites, Raiders of the Lost Ark. R2-D2 shows up in hieroglyphs on a pillar, just as Indiana Jones discovers the Ark of the Covenant. Then, soon after that, there's a depiction of R2 and C-3PO on the wall behind Indy as he lifts the ark. It takes a keen eye to find these Easter eggs. But it's always fun when you discover them as they often add a deeper sense of meaning to the story the artists are telling.
Can you spot R2 & Princess Lea hieroglyphics on the pillar?
The Bible is filled with these kinds of "Easter Eggs." Places within the scriptures where God writes himself into the story using symbolism, circumstances, and people. One of my personal favorites seems to be often overlooked. Jesus and his Mom were attending a wedding feast. The master of the feast told Mary, Jesus' mother, that they were running out of wine. So Mary goes and asks Jesus to help going so far as to tell the servants that they were to do whatever he said.
So, Jesus turns over 1000 liters of water into wine. The Master of the Feast is stunned, wondering who would bring out the best wine after many of their guests who were likely already too drunk to know good wine from bad, stating that everybody knows you bring out the good stuff first. I wonder how many partying wedding guests were even aware of this miracle?
The story is well known as Jesus's first miracle. However, this miracle qualifies as an Easter Egg for me as I have often wondered, out of all the miracles Jesus could have done to kick start his ministry, why this one? This is a question I have pondered for years. After listening to many sermons and reading various commentaries, I have never been fully satisfied with the explanations until recently.
I have been enjoying a wonderful book called The Spirituality of Wine by Gisela H. Kreglinger. Gisela takes readers on a deep dive into the significant role wine played in ancient cultures and how the making and consumption of wine are overflowing with spiritual metaphors. Through this renewed understanding, I have just begun to see multiple ways that the physical and spiritual are deeply intertwined.
Wine in biblical times was a reference to God's abundant blessings for a variety of reasons. Wine was of tremendous value in Jewish life, both culturally and economically. Wine was believed to stimulate the blood-forming organs of the body. Greeks called wine "Life" because of its healing powers. Water was scarce in the desert, so wine was an essential and precious life-giving commodity.
During the last supper, as Jesus served His disciples the Passover meal, he says something that would have sent a shock wave through the hearts and minds of everyone in that room. As he served them the traditional unleavened bread and wine, He says "This bread represents my body that is broken for you, and this cup of wine represents the new covenant in my blood."
In the Hebrew mindset, blood is the center of life, both literally and metaphorically. Blood was believed to have its origin in God and belonged to God alone. Blood was seen as the carrier of life and the seat of the human soul. For this reason, blood was to be set apart and not consumed by humans.
Jesus' instructions to "drink my blood" were initially very offensive and radical within the Hebrew understanding of blood. As we now reflect on Jesus's first miracle of turning water into over 1000 liters of wine, we can see the profound significance of this miracle.
But what Jesus was doing is much deeper than sharing a cup of wine, the third cup of the meal, is known in passover as the Cup of Redemption and the Cup of the Covenant. What Jesus is promising his disciples is that he will redeem them through His blood and the new covenant it brings.
Jesus turning water into wine was not a mere party trick; it was a profound foreshadowing of His coming Kingdom. Miracles disrupt the wheel of life in an unexpected and beautiful way. God desires to pour out his blessings on all creation overflowing with an abundance of life-giving new wine. This first miracle set the stage for the Resurrection of creation, revealing that Jesus broke the power of death, giving us a tangible hope.
My goal for this dish was to create a simple way to create an Easter Egg without a mold. I have made wine poached pears many times in the past. But as I was making this dish, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the deep connection that wine has to His big story. Now every time I enjoy a glass of wine or crack open an Easter egg, I'm reminded about the Resurrection and God's abundant grace.
I would love to hear about some Easter Eggs that you have discovered in the comments below.
Happy Cooking & Happy Easter!
Vegan Mulled Wine Poached Pear, Passion Fruit Puree, Coconut & Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, Dark Chocolate & Red Wine Caramel. Cinnamon Tuile. Mulled Wine Reduction.