We enjoyed a lovely celebration of Michaelmas this weekend.
The children awoke to the annual surprise of our new Michaelmas candle. We burn the candle at dinner every night until it burns out (if well-timed, this is usually around the beginning of advent). My husband sculpts the dragons every year. He's gotten quite good! (He uses beeswax candles and this.)
We spent the afternoon cooking -- my husband and the children made our dragon bread (using a regular white bread dough), while I made our dinner and dessert.
At suppertime, I told a version of the tale of St. Michael and the Dragon.
For dinner, there was the dragon bread, and dragon soup (recipe below).
And for dessert, we had a delicious Michaelmas pie. This was the first year we'd made it (I found the recipe here -- scroll down). It was really good! The flavor was so surprising -- spicy with all the cloves and nutmeg -- and so yummy. The only thing I did differently was that I just used my usual pie crust recipe (from my grandmother), but added the 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to it. We will definitely make this again next year.
After dinner, there was just enough time for some dragon and knight dress up and play before our little heroes slipped into bed to dream about Michaelmas until next year.
Michaelmas has been one of the harder festivals for me to "grasp" -- at least the "meaning" behind it. But every year, we follow our traditions, and it works its way into our hearts. I am beginning to see how fortifying it is, this first festival of the autumn and winter, and the way that it celebrates the excitement at new beginnings that we naturally feel at this time of year. How grateful I am for the forms that our family has put into place. These forms offer predictability and strength to us, even during times that are busy and hard. And how amazed I am, as each holiday or celebration greets us, that our traditions carry us. They are so familiar and so much easier now, requiring a little less fumbling and work each year. What a gift we are giving to one another -- our children, their father, and I.
If there is one thing that I would like to share with any young family just finding its way, it's this: seek celebration, and embrace it. You will be blessed many times over.
(this recipe is adapted from one I saw on a homeschooling Yahoo group a few years ago)
Finely chop one onion and two cloves of garlic. In a stockpot, melt 4 Tbsp. butter. Saute the onions and garlic until soft.
1 qt. vegetable or chicken stock (we used about 6 cups)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large beet, scrubbed and diced (we used two smaller beets, from our garden, and we peeled them first)
1 small jar roasted red peppers, chopped well and added with the juices from the jar
3 Tbsp. orzo pasta or other small pasta (we used much more -- about 1/3 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer until vegetables are tender.
Add 1/2 cup frozen green peas and serve at once. (We added more like a cup of peas.)
Optional garnishes: sour cream and sweet chili sauce or salsa. Enjoy with your dragon bread!