On Sundays my Dad always set the table for dinner very early (he still does). He’s very organized and it was, and is very important to him to have everything right on target…especially when he has prepared a meal for the family.
When I was little, I remember the butter sitting on the table and getting to room temperature. Perfect for sticking my finger in to taste test.
Well, on Easter Sunday, especially if you lived in Buffalo, NY, the butter became the star of the table. That was when we would have a “Butter Lamb” …
Isn’t he a cutie?
Now, I’m not an expert on the “Butter Lamb”, but I’ll tell you what I do know, and where to find one for your Easter table.
Butter Lambs are a Christian (Roman Catholic)/Polish tradition first made by a woman in Buffalo, New York named Dorothy Malczewski after her father brought home a lamb shaped butter mold from Poland. Traditionally, my Polish mother would buy our Butter Lamb and have it blessed along with the ham and Easter eggs. I remember her carrying the big basket with all of the goodies into the church…I think she had chocolate in there too. What a wonderful memory.
Today, I feel the “Butter Lamb” tradition would be a wonderful addition to all Easter tables. Children love them, and they make a wonderful conversation piece for all. Can you find the Butter Lamb on our Easter Brunch Table?
We found our Butter Lamb at our local Polish Market here in Michigan last weekend. You may have a Polish market near you? This is how they are packaged:
When I was little, I remember the Butter Lamb looking a lot different. My Mom would buy a fresh one from the “Broadway Market”. The Broadway Market is an ethnic old world shopping center on the East side of Buffalo that takes up an entire block. It began in 1888 when Eastern Europeans wanted to preserve their traditions and heritage. It’s open year round, but only has the Butter Lambs during the Easter season.
I’ll take 4, Frank! (FYI-you can freeze them)
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If you don’t plan on visiting Buffalo any time soon, then it is possible to order a Butter Lamb on line this time of year from buffalofoods.com (I’m not sure how far they mail them). I have also seen butter lamb molds to make your own. It involves melting the butter into the mold. Sounds fairly easy.
Here’s my Mom at the Polish market here in Michigan. We had such a nice time teaching my girls all of the Polish traditions…
If you look closely you can see her Butter Lamb in her cart in the green package. You’ll find a few pierogi’s in there too, but that’s a whole other story to tell for another day. Look at those pickles!
Last but not least, I thought I would share some pretty hand painted Polish wooden Easter eggs with you.
Get to your local Polish market ASAP!Broadway Market, buffalofood.com, butter, butter lamb, homemade butter lamb, how to make a butter lamb, lamb, Malczewski, Malczewski Butter Lamb, polish butter lamb, Polish Easter, polish tradition, Polish wooden eggs, Roman Catholic butter lamb, Roman catholic church, What is a butter lamb?, where to buy a butter lamb, wooden Easter eggs Posted by
No butter lambs here if Florida!!! I also grew up in Buffalo and miss this tradition! We always had a butter lamb on our Easter table
Oh, darn Barbara! I wish there was!!
I already picked mine up as well at Nino Salvaggio’s International Marketplace. For those who live in states that don’t sell the butter lambs they are easy to make with lamb candy molds and probably less expensive as well.
where can I buy the red ribbon & red Alleluia flag for the butter lamb? Making my own but can’t find the decorations..really need them to finish the lamb!! There is a family here who figures they are the only Buffalonian to make the lamb and won’t give up where the decoration comes from.. ..and yes they are WAY less expensive to make on your own!
I don’t know, Helen, but you could make it homemade. Use a tooth pick, fabric, glue?
What a great post. I did not know the story or the true origin.
Butter Lamb has made its way to our family Easters in Niagara Falls Canada. I always assumed it was a Catholic Italian tradition because we didn’t have it as kids, only after my brother-in-law joined the family. And yes — I think family members went across the river to buy it Niagara Falls NY. Now I wonder if they had to go to Buffalo.
Love this, we still find the butter lambs in Michigan. Blessing of the basket on Holy Saturday…memories.
I found many years ago a Chocolate Lamb Mold. I use it for my lamb butter. It takes about 3/4 to a pound of butter. I get mine soft, beat with a hand mixer and use spatula to put into the mold. I also make a Polish white raisin bread (using golden raisins) and an Italian bread with anise seeds and white wine. Butter goes great with both. For the red ribbon, find one with more “plastic” in it then “paper” since it won’t absorb the fat from the butter. Or just use a thin fabric ribbon, knowing you’ll remove it by end of dinner. Also on the east coast, if you have a ShopRite, they also have sold them in the past. Happy Easter !
Thank you for the awesome tips, Marie! Happy Easter 🙂
I make my butter lamb using astick of butter. I cut 1/4 of it and attach it to the rest of the stick. As it softens a little I use a toothpick to make the curls andshape the face with my fingers.
If you can find a small lamb candy mold that will work too.
This just blew me away, Tina…how clever!!!!!
They actually have these in the South in Wal-Mart this time of year for those of you who do not live near a Polish market. Barbara N can probably find one there in FL. (I am in AL.)
How cool!.. Great to know, Kim!
Had to chime in. Italian from the old west side of Buffalo and always had butter lambs for Easter. I did buy the pricey wood lamb mold and had one hellava time unmolding! So back to the plastic one. 998 Broadway for pickles in the barrel !! So glad I found you!
I live in Pompano Beach and no one do far has them. Last year GFS had them but not this year. Our Polish store is out of them (don’t know how many he ordered if he is out of stock since Wednesday. I have tried Penn Dutch, Whole Foods, Publix . Will be trying Winn Dixie and Walmart today . Wish me luck, this will be the first year without a butter lsmb. I also am from Buffalo but I have never seen them available in the summer when I visit there
I hope you find one, Janice! You could mold your own with a plastic mold maybe?
I live in Syracuse, NY and the local grocery stores here usually carry some butter lambs but if you do not buy them early they are often gone. This was new to me but my friend talked about them so I wanted to get one for our Easter dinner- our families celebrate Easter together. That was when I found they are usually gone early. I looked for moleds but the ones I saw were well out of my price range. I actually made one by hand for our dinner table. While I am not an artist, it turned out rather well and everyone loved it.
Stumbled across your site recently. What a sweet memory of my Polish/Ukrainian heritage you brought back! Never knew story of the Baranek (lamb). We also took food for Blessing on Holy Saturday. I recently found a candy lamb mold at a thrift store. In prior years my crafty daughter would shape a a butter lamb and make curly fur with her artsy hands ?. Your mom looks like a lovely Polish lady.
Thank you, Dee! You made my night with your sweet comment.