Why does the Church like to remind us twice a year that we are all going to die? It’s such a downer.
(Where’s the sarcasm font?)
In reality, I think it’s very important to be reminded that we are all going to die one day and that this life was meant to be temporary. It helps us remember to stop sweating the small stuff, look at the big picture, forgive and repent.
For the procrastinator in all of us, the Church Calendar has two Saturdays named “Saturday of Souls” where we remember the dead: the Saturday before Meatfare Sunday and the Saturday before Pentecost… the beginning and end of the movable festal calendar. The other Saturday of Souls services in the beginning of Lent are associated with the ascetics who didn’t have descendants to remember them in prayer and St. Theodore concerning the Miracle of the Koliva*.
On these memorial Saturdays we offer boiled wheat, a.k.a. Koliva, and ask the priest and those present to pray for our departed family members and loved ones. I have a friend who pays extra attention to pray for his loved ones and friends who didn’t have children (like the ascetics) and who will probably be forgotten through the generations to come. As it is, each of us depending on the if we taught our children this sacred tradition or if our names are on a building or invention of some sort, will probably only be remembered for a short time after our death (in comparison to eternity.)
Holy and Great Lent is less than two weeks away and today we are preparing the ingredients for the first Saturday of Souls, February 10, 2018. Do you prepare Koliva? Do you offer a list of names of the dead? How far back do you go?
I highly encourage you to learn how to make koliva. If you need instructions or a recipe, you can go to an early post for koliva, or if you are a more visual learner, here’s a video.
May their memory be eternal.
In 361, Julian the Apostate was doing his utmost to restore pagan customs. Knowing that the Christians were accustomed to sanctify the first week of Lent by fasting and prayer, the wily tyrant told the Prefect of Constantinople to have all of the food set out for sale in the markets sprinkled with the blood of animals sacrificed to the gods, so that no one in the city would escape the contagion of idolatry. However, the Lord did not abandon His chosen people, but sent His servant Theodore to outwit the tyrant. Appearing in a vision to Patriarch Eudoxius (360-364), the holy Martyr informed him of what was happening and told him to instruct the Christians not to buy food from the markets but instead to eat kolyva made from grains of boiled wheat. Thus, thanks to the intervention of the holy Martyr Theodore, the Christian people were preserved from the stain of idolatry. The Church has commemorated this miracle ever since on the first Saturday of Great Lent, in order to remind the faithful that fasting and temperance have the power to cleanse all the stains of sin.
This cornbread is a real treat when you find yourself needing to clear out the fridge during cheese fare week. It needs 4 zucchini, one onion and a box of JIFFY cornbread. Then you add feta, cottage cheese and anything you have left. I’ve made it with Parmesan, Asiago, ricotta, yogurt and even cream cheese. Yumm!
Preheat oven to 375*
Grate 4 zucchini (I use a big food processor) and a pinch of salt. Let sit in a strainer to draw out the moisture.
Chop 1 Vidalia onion. Sautee onion in 2 T butter until transparent.
1 box Jiffy Corn Bread/Muffin Mix
½ c cream of wheat,
1 stick softened butter
16 oz. small curd cottage cheese
8 oz. well crumbled feta cheese
½ c milk
(I will also add any grated hard cheese I have including asiago, Parmesan, or Romano.)
Drain and squeeze zucchini and add to transparent onions and sauté for a few more minutes to remove more moisture.
Add zucchini/onion mixture to other ingredients in bowl. Stir and put in greased 9×13 cake pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden on top.
If you can wait, cool for 15 minutes. You can also serve at room temperature or cold. Any way you plate it, it’s delicious!
Have you prepared koliva for memorials yet? Here’s a video and recipe.
For a small memorial service, like Saturday of the Souls or a family memorial, you will need the following ingredients: 2 c whole wheat (uncooked), 1 c chopped walnuts, 1 c blanched / slivered almonds, 1/2 c raisins, 1/2 c golden raisins, 1/4 c Italian (flat) parsley, 1 c whole sesame seeds, 1 t cinnamon, 1 t pumpkin spice, 1 t honey, 2 c powdered sugar, Jordan Almonds.
In a small saucepan simmer, after boil, 1 c long grain rice in 2 c water for 10 minutes or till liquid is absorbed.
In a larger pot warm 6 c milk (2%, skim or almond milk if you need a lenten dessert) with 1 c sugar and 1 t vanilla extract. Be careful not to scorch the milk. When rice is cooked and milk is warm, combine the two.
Continue cooking milk and rice over medium heat until rice is fully cooked and mixture has thickened, which should take another 40 minutes. STIR OFTEN!!
After 40 minutes whisk 1 T softened butter and 3 beaten egg yolks in a separate bowl. Do not add the egg mixture to the pudding until you temper it by slowly whisking it with 1/2 c of warm pudding. You can skip this step for a lenten recipe.
Add the tempered egg mixture to the pot of rice pudding.
Simmer another 2 minutes over medium heat.
Pour into individual serving bowls or a serving platter. Be sure to let the pudding cool to room temperature before you chill in the fridge or a film will form. You don’t want that.
When you are ready to serve, sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
Scoop out a portion and garnish with peach slices and homemade whipped cream. Yumm!!
This Lenten Banana Bread is always a hit at church coffee hour. It’s great with chocolate chips, walnuts, or cinnamon.
Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees.
In one bowl, mix dry ingredients (and then set aside)
3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
In large bowl, beat together
3/4 c. oil (I use 1/2 part vegetable and 1/2 part coconut oil)
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cold water
1 t vanilla extract
Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture. The mixture will be thick but don’t worry. The bananas will add plenty of moisture.
Mash 3-4 bananas and incorporate into mixture
Add 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips. (Ghirardelli are lenten.) or add 2 T ground cinnamon. Or add 1 C chopped walnuts.
Pour into a greased loaf pans and bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Or pour into lined cupcake trays and bake for 15 minutes.
If I need a quick cake, I pour the batter into a greased glass cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. I dust the top with cinnamon or powdered sugar for an added treat, but they are sweet enough that a topping really isn’t needed.
When I add walnuts, (my guys don’t like nuts) I like to add half walnuts on top so we can remember which ones have nuts and which don’t.
When you want them to remember what you wrote, write it on something they’ll keep.