Y'all know me by now. You know that I celebrate the turning of the wheel in my kitchen. For me, the best way to celebrate the individual seasons and the bounty provided is to cook that beautiful, wonderful seasonal food and share it with those I love.
My favorite celebration has always been the Samhain celebration. It's the last harvest holiday, and in my path, the last day of the year. Some people celebrate on Oct. 31 or Nov. 1, while others' celebrations depend upon the actual day. I believe Nov. 6 is the day this year. It varies, and you can look it up online or use your trusty almanac.
Because of our work schedules, my boyfriend and I have chosen Saturday, Nov. 2 this year as the day for our feast of remembrance. It may just be the two of us, or a friend from work might join us. Other friends may join us if they can make it up here, but it doesn't look too promising, sadly.
I have written before that I see Samhain as the last day of the old year and the winter solstice/Yule as the first day of the new year. The time in between is just that - the in-between time. The veil is still a bit thin, the nights are long and dark, and the earth rests.
This year, instead of an altar (which we never really do, anyway), I think we are just going to write down the names of our beloved dead and post their names at the table. There will be candles, of course, and possibly some seasonal decorations if I can find time to get them together. Time is something that is always in short supply. Plus, I've never been that good at decorating. Oh, well. It's the thought that counts, right?
I've been working on some meal plans lately. As some of you may remember from last year, I eat a vegetarian/possibly slightly vegan diet from just after Samhain until Yule. I've been planning those meals as well as a list of funeral feasts. I am working on putting together menus for Samhain and other times of remembrance.
The ideas behind it are to offer a variety of grounding foods and a variety of lighter fare as well. I was thinking about offering the more grounding foods to the spirits as a way of enticing them to hang out and visit with their living relatives a bit longer, and the lighter foods would be served to the living. The lighter, less grounding foods for the living would be a way of helping us communicate with those beyond the veil. Some menus offer grounding foods to the living as well, so as to keep them from being 'swept away', as it were.
This year, I have planned a seasonal feast of grounding foods for the living and the dead. There are so many wonderful foods associated with this time of year - nuts, apples, pumpkins, root vegetables, pork...The list goes on and on. I tend to get a bit carried away sometimes, and I always want to serve as much sabbat-appropriate food as possible.
As a result of my menu planning, I expect to spend two days in the kitchen. I may not be eating meat after Saturday, but my boyfriend will have leftovers to take to work. I will have some vegetable dishes to take for my lunches, as well.
I have had this menu planned for several months, but I haven't unveiled (ahem) it yet, so here it is:
Persephone's Salad (recipe on this blog somewhere)
Pork-stuffed cabbage (gonna use my crock pot for these)
Brussels sprouts gratin
Mixed mushroom saute
Roasted, glazed parsnips and carrots
Buttered poppy seed noodles
Rye rolls with caraway seeds
Chocolate-walnut cake (mostly flourless)
Hello, meat! Hello, starch! Yes, it's an enormous feast, especially for only 2-3 living attendees. A plate will be left out for the ancestors as well. I believe apple pie moonshine will also make an appearance.
I will post recipes for the parsnips and carrots, the cabbage rolls, and the salad. The cake recipe comes to me from chow.com, and the rye bread recipe comes to me from the bag of rye flour.
For now, I am off to dream of other Samhain recipes and to enjoy my Sunday. This week brings a full schedule of teaching, grading, planning, office hours, and getting my boyfriend to and from his job as well (we only have the one car for now).
I hope that you all have a wonderful Samhain celebration, no matter how you observe it. May your table be full of delicious food and your home full of the love and light of your ancestors and relatives.
Until next time,