BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) —With so many cultures and ethnicities it’s no secret that Buffalo has some unique foods and traditions, especially around the holidays.
You may have seen these little friends in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. It’s the butter lamb, made famous years ago in the Queen City by a woman named Dorothy Malczewski.
Michelle Lupas, General Manager of Lupas Meats and butter lamb retailer told News 4 about Dorothy. She said, “She started the butter lambs and created them, and they’ve been a staple in Buffalo.”
So much so, that people at the Broadway Market waited in line to get their hands on one. Some people get it to carry on tradition but others value the meaning behind it. Adam Cichocki works for Malczewski Butter Lambs. He shared the meaning behind the lamb and its decorations. He said, “It’s the sacrifice of lamb and God in the Eucharist. So it has a red ribbon which symbolizes the blood of Christ, a hallelujah flag on its back which symbolizes hallelujah peace on earth and peppercorn eyes which signify God’s lighting of the world.” Some of the lambs in the cooler had a different color ribbon…violet, Dorothy’s favorite color.
The lambs meaning doesn’t stop with butter. Lamb cakes can be found at the market too.
Tyrel Reynolds is the owner of Mazurek’s Bakery. Famous for their rye bread they also make lamb cakes. He shared the ingredients with News 4. He said, “Ours’s is a yellow pound cake, wrapped in coconut, most people enjoy that, and then it’s got the red brace and red flag on it as well.”
These cakes are had for dessert after Easter dinner and they’re also used to have a little fun. He shared with us what his family does with the cake. He said, “Each year we decide to take a different chunk of the lamb cake to see what we enjoy most. Sometimes we take it right out of the middle, sometimes we take the head off and enjoy. It’s just a great conversation piece that everyone at the table enjoys.”
Mazurek’s Bakery makes about 200 cakes a year. But not without some casualties. Reynolds said, “We have some casualties every year. We either lose the neck or lose the ears. Ears are a very common issue that we have.”
And if the pros have issues you can imagine the challenges the everyday baker may have. My family for example has had some losses of their own.
Whether you are successful or not, the lamb is an important part of Easter tradition. Whether it’s in the form of butter or cake, you can find it all this time of year.