If you live in the Rust Belt, you may have noticed that Easter brings not only jelly beans and chocolate bunnies to the grocery store but also boxes of butter molded into the shape of lambs.  Does it confuse you?  Do you eat it but have no idea why?  Join Tommy, Dan, and Marissa as they dig into the rollicking history of the butter lamb, just in time for Easter!

Don’t forget to enter to win the Butter Lamb T-shirt! Contest closes 26 March 2016 at 11:59PM EST.


Show Notes and Further Reading

Abt, Christina. Chicken Wing Wisdom: Western New York Stories of Family, Life and Food Shared Around the Table. Buffalo, NY: Western New York Wares, 2005.

Division, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Shelton, Brenda K. Reformers in Search of Yesterday: Buffalo in the 1890’s. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1976.

Buffalo’s Broadway Market

Buffalo’s Polish Pioneers

Buffalo “Polonia” at the Turn of the Century

Butter Lambs are Polish Easter Tradition

Malczewski’s Easter Butter Lamb

The Emergence of Dairy Butter

The History of Butter Sculpture Is Strange, Indeed




kryssi01 · March 22, 2016 at 10:08 am

Very interesting history! Thanks for sharing

    Averill Earls · March 22, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    So glad you liked it! Thanks for listening, come back again soon. 🙂

Mary · September 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm

The foods in the Easter basket that were blessed were all items that had been fasted from during Lent – not just butter but anything made of animal products, including all dairy and meats – sausage, ham, cheese, eggs, butter. People would feast on these foods that they had fasted from. The lamb is because Christ is our Passover – spiritual death cannot touch us because of his sacrifice. The basket may also contain a sweet bread called a Pascha (Passover), and wine, which was also a fast item. The butter lamb is not only Polish, but part of the tradition of all Eastern Catholics or Orthodox, including those from Slovakia, Ukraine, etc.

Syllabus – hurst history stories · November 26, 2016 at 11:09 am

[…] Listen to: “Vale of York Hoard,” History of the World in 100 Objects; “The Boy Jones,” Stuff You Missed in History Class; “Is That Lamb made of…Butter?!” History Buffs Podcast […]

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