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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in sacred food
Posch, You've Gone Too Far: In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Indulges Himself in a Thoroughly Tasteless—If Tasty—Bit of Satire

“Seriously, what is it about witches and cannibalism?”

(Sabrina Spellman)

 

As every witch knows, unbaptized baby is a delicious, nutritious, and—in this overpopulated and increasingly nonreligious world—readily available food.

These days you can even get organic ones at Trader Joe's.

But—you might ask—is it really worth all the effort? And—on a strictly practical level—who has a large enough oven any more?

Now, plenty of witches have oven issues, of course: completely understandably, let me say. But do remember that, when properly jointed, what is traditionally known as hornless goat* will fit quite easily—even allowing ample room for plenty of vegetables—into the average roasting pan. If it will hold a turkey, it will hold a baby.

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  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Who's Bringing the Hornless Goat?

 "What is it with witches and cannibalism?"
(Sabrina Spellman)

 

What's a coven to do?

We're pagans. We don't just like to eat; food is central to our religion. Maintaining a spiritual connection with our food sources lies at the very heart of who we are, how we see things, and what we do.

So, when we get together, we eat. Therein lies the rub.

In our coven of eight, we've got one vegetarian (me), one fishetarian, and six more-or-less practicing omnivores, but that's the easy part. We've also got numerous allergies, sensitivities, and just plain don't likes. How to accommodate everyone?

When I'm thinking about what to bring to the (ahem) cauldron-luck, I'd like to be able to feed as many as possible, so I try to bring dishes without major allergens. But once you add in all the “don't likes,” acceptable foods begin to vanish mathematically with each person that we add to the group.

So, in our usual pragmatic way, we've settled on two coven food policies:

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I think of Elizabeth Marshall who, as a teen back in the 50s, went with her anthropologist parents to the Kalahari to live with so
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    We had the same problem in my old coven. We couldn't even do cakes and ale together in ritual because of allergies and sensitiviti
Edible Luck: German Traditional Foods for the New Year

As with any holiday celebration, food plays an important role in New Year's Eve and Day traditions around the world. Many people eat pomegranates, that sacred fruit of Persephone associated with rebirth. In Spain, since the turn of the 20th century, it's been the tradition to eat twelve grapes -- one for each month of the coming year and for each toll of the midnight bell. In Charleston, SC (and across the American South), hoppin' john is considered good luck -- the beans symbolize coins -- a tradition originating in African American culture. While waiting for the New Year's ball to drop, my family has always shared a platter of crackers, summer sausage and ham, and a variety of cheeses with champagne for the adults and sparkling grape juice for the kids (we always called it Kinderwein, thanks to our time living in Germany and our partially German American roots).

In addition to pork and ham, Germans also make and eat Glückschwein, marzipan confections in the shape of pigs. The Germanic veneration of pigs goes back a long way to pre-Christian times. Remember that boars are associated with Freyr and Freya -- the golden-bristled Gullinbursti and the disguised lover Hildisvini, respectively. That tradition continues today -- pigs are lucky animals in German culture, symbolizing wealth and health. The term Glückschwein means just that: "lucky pig."

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  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    I grew up in Switzerland. On New Year's Eve at the dinner-and-dance clubs, they used to bring a baby pig at midnight and let every
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Thanks for sharing these traditions! I remember the pigs with clover from parts of Germany, too. The piglet tradition is new to me
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Greens were supposed to represent folding money, but dad would always turn the heat up to high and scorch them. The kitchen stank
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Sounds like you're from the Carolinas! I love those food traditions. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Nectar of the Gods

Woe, I cry, woe: five long years, and never a good tomato.

Either it got too hot, and the tomatoes languished.

Or it didn't get hot enough, and they never ripened.

We didn't have enough rain, and so they were tough-skinned and bitter.

Or we had too much rain, and they swelled up obese and flavorless, red water balloons.

Oh, but this year: this year the gods have been good.

Earth and Your two boon husbands, Sun and Thunder: thank You, thank You All.

Firm, sweet, kissed by the Sun: at every meal tomatoes, and you never get tired of them.

Glory to the gift of the Aztecs, best of Nightshades! But in every good tomato year, you always reach glut: the point at which they're coming in so fast that you can't keep up, no matter how many you eat.

That means that it's time for the Nectar of the Gods.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Stand aside, avocado toast. You're hopelessly outclassed.
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Need someone to unload tomatoes on? Tomato toast for breakfast now. Just sayin '.
One Advantage of Hosting the Ritual...

...is that you get all the leftovers.

My festive First-Day-of-Spring breakfast:

  • Steamed asparagus
  • Toasted sesame egg bread
  • Fresh farmer's cheese with garden chives
  • Ostara eggs with hot sauce
  • Fresh strawberries
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Goddess Pockets

We call them Gettintaschen, “goddess pockets.”

“Pockets.” Yeah, right.

They're sweet, triangular cookies stuffed, traditionally, with fruit, nut, or poppy seed fillings. My covensib Kay generally makes a few with peanut butter-chocolate chip centers as well. Call it fusion.

I don't need to tell you what they represent. That's why they're served in the Spring, and at other fertility-related occasions, like Full Moons and First Bloods.

Needless to say, they're way better than your standard-issue B of S moon-cakes.

Edible little deltas filled with sweet, rich goodness. What could possibly be more goddess-y than that?

“Pockets.”

Yeah, right.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Pancake Moon

Consider the immemorial pancake.

Child of Earth, Sun, and Thunder, one of humanity's most ancient and sacred foods.

Every pancake is a charm, as round and golden as the Sun. Every one you eat brings Spring just a little closer. That's why this is pancake time, the arc of the year between the February cross-quarter and Spring Evenday.

The pancake incarnates differently in every cuisine, but in my opinion it reaches its apotheosis in the yeasted buckwheat pancakes of Russia, blini. They say that when you start the sponge for blini, you should take it out to the woods so that the full Moon can shine on it.

You can judge their antiquity by the name. Blini comes from the same ancient root that gave us mill, meal, and molar. From the same root also comes mallet, malleus (as in Malleus Maleficarum, “hammer of the 'witches'”), and Mjöllnir, the name of Þórr's thunder hammer: “crusher.” Really, there should be a shrine to Thunder in every flour-mill in the world.

Blini are one of the great sacred foods of the North. You serve them at sacred times: births, weddings, deaths.

And now: that final, axial arc of the year between winter and spring.

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