13 February 2015

Feasts


I have been reading a most interesting book this week, the detail of which I will share later in the month.  The author describes an interview she held, back in 1991, about virtual reality which in those days was pretty much unheard of.  The author asked the question "Aren't you worried that people will get addicted?"  The reply and emphatic No - for one reason: Texture.  Any scenario could potentially be created, you could be anyone or anything you wanted to be but there is no texture which as animals, we crave, it keeps us rooted and grounded.  A life lived fast with labour saving devices* can strip us of texture.  The 'old' tasks growing food, baking bread, preserving food are our interaction with the natural world in a mutually beneficial way.  Real comfort food.

We have, as part of our learning, been finding out about the many, varied and interesting festivals and traditions observed around the world.  It has been interesting to note as we observe and celebrate them not only the similarity between the different festivals but also how many are centred around food.   In many ways this is hardly surprising given how old some of these festivals are likely to be and how vital food production was to our ancestors.

Some festivals are still synonymous with food.  Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, the many foods associated with Christmas, the specific foods and fasting of Lent, Ramadan and Passover.  I have found recipes mentioned as part of my research learning about some of the new, to us, festivals and this seems like a perfect way for us to integrate them into our lives and continue to observe them in the future.  A perfect place for me to start has been the two lovely book on my shelves Festivals, Family and Food and Festivals Together which between them contain many festivals and recipes.  So far we have enjoyed eating Besan Ladoo a very sweet sweet made for sharing for Divali, Spicy Biscuits on St Nicholas Day, St Lucia Buns for the feast day of St Lucia, Potato Latkes for Hanukah, Gallete de Rois for Twelfth Night, a Spicy Apple Punch to toast the apple tree for Wassailing and a seed cake for Imbolc.  I am sure there will be many more delicious recipes that we make and share throughout the year.  If you have any to share I would love to hear about them!

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* I am not for one minute going to suggest we rid ourselves of all of these!


16 comments:

  1. I got Festivals Family and Food as a Christmas present and it's been a big hit so far - especially the Valentine's biscuits even though we did have to add a heap of extra flour, are the recipes usually fairly accurate? I think the point about texture is spot on, it's true for food but also things like books, I love Persephone books both for the stories and they just feel nice to read!

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    1. We didn't make those biscuits we used a tried and tested biscuit recipe for Valentines. I have looked at that recipe and compared it to others I use to make biscuits and it does seem a bit short of flour to me. I have made a few things from the book and they have been accurate so far!

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  2. That looks delicious! St Davids Day is coming up and we always have 'cawl' and welsh cakes, and on St Patrick's Day - Colcannon (with your recipe)! Hope you share some of your new found festive recipes on-line too!
    We also have Festivals, Family and Food - great book. Have you seen 'The Children's Year' book? - similar idea but seasonal crafting activities.

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  3. Books sound excellent. Look forward to reading lots more from them as the year progresses. So important to mark occasions with food X

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  4. We love celebrating festivals, and always find them so interesting. I have a few festival books, one you might like, Celebrating the Great Mother Earth. It is really lovely.

    Happy weekend.

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    1. Thank you for the book recommendation I think I have something similar written by an English author, Sacred Celebrations :)

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  5. Shrove Tuesday- we have the best buns in Norway filled with marzipan, topped with whip cream and powdered sugar...I am levitating just thinking about it. I have heard of this author- this has peaked my interest.

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  6. How interesting - I will look forward to reading your thoughts on your latest read! Food, such a down to earth celebration of life that connects the ordinary day to day rituals with life's greater mysteries - something to think about, "food" for thought for sure :) xo

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  7. Mmm, that bread looks tasty! We love celebrating festivals from around the world in our home too, and those celebrations usually center on food. While it's not associated with a holiday, per se (though you could do it on May 5 for Cinco de Mayo), we're having a mid-winter blues fiesta with tamales, Mexican beans and red tomato rice next weekend (was supposed to be this weekend, but big blizzard coming), and soon (bumped to another date by the fiesta), we'll be celebrating Chinese New Year with eggrolls, noodles, fortune cookies, and other Asian dishes.

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  8. You probably don't know about the feast of Ste-Catherine (Nov 25th) an important festival in French Canada when I was a child. It was centered on children and toffee. If there was fresh snow outside (being Canada there often was on Nov 25th) the hot toffee was poured on the snow to cool. Children would then cover their hands with butter (so the toffee would not stick to them) and would pull long strands which would be cut candy size with scissors and wrapped in waxed paper. If it was a success, the toffee was soft otherwise it was a hard candy.

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  9. Bread looks lovely! What a fabulous array of foods. xx

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  10. Love this idea, and I love the toffee one above!!!

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  11. Interestingly I just wrote a post about the importance of hand work, but the texture aspect of that passed me by completely so thank you for the thought. Of course the advances in virtual reality already mean that immersive, and even textural, 3D experiences aren't far away. I'm just hoping there'll be a backlash and people will go back to connecting directly with what they do.

    Great post :o)

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  12. What a wonderful sounding book. Added it to our wishlist. What recipe is that one in the picture? Looks very good. :-)

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    1. It's an Imbolc Seed cake you can find the recipe here if you scroll down the page the recipe is near the bottom.

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