Spiritual insights, reflections, and meditations on life, death, and rebirth, expressed through food.
The Beautiful Feast of the Valley
Ahh, summer. Warm, lazy days spent at the beach, and reconnecting with loved ones. For Temple Osireion, the Summer Solstice is the celebration of the Beautiful Feast of the Valley, a time for remembering lost loved ones. In ancient Egypt, this is when the community would cross the Nile from Thebes to the Valley of the Kings, led by a procession of Amon, Mut, and Khonsu. There the community would visit the ancestors and picnic among them. It was a time for storytelling, rememberance, and feasting. Storytelling I’m not so good at. Rememberance is fine, but it always makes me cry. But feasting… now THAT’S where I come in!
I pretty much traveled a direct path from the womb into the kitchen. There is not a time in my life I have not been somehow focused on food. While most children were pretending to be superheroes or princesses, I had a mud bakery set up in my backyard. And while most children watched cartoons after school, I rushed home to watch reruns of The French Chef. So when a holiday presents itself that is centered around feasting and family, I really sit up and take notice.
Now as far as family goes, I come from a small family to begin with, and I haven’t got many blood relatives left. Just me, my mom, my sister, my aunt, and a few cousins. Did I mention I am the only Pagan in the bunch? So seasonal celebrations are spent with my Temple Osireion Pagan family, whom I love as much as if they were blood. But I do like to tie my grandparents and my father into our celebrations, and prepare dishes they would have enjoyed.
So for the upcoming Summer Solstice, I would like to encourage all of you, whatever your religious and spiritual practice may be, to feast with reckless abandon. Feast to give thanks for the present, and to look towards the future. And feast to remember the past; prepare a dish or two that your ancestors would thoroughly enjoy, that they may feast along with you. The following is my Grandmother’s recipe for Ranger Cookies:
TEXAS RANGER COOKIES
½ cup butter, softened
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 cups crispy rice cereal
3 ½ oz. flaked coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 375. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds, until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently mix flour mixture into butter mixture, taking care not to overmix. Stir in cereal, coconut, and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
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