After a long sabbatical, I plan to post new snippets with some holiday recipes from around the world. May your upcoming holiday preparations be interesting and fun. Stay happy and healthy until I write again.
Remembrance Day falls this year in Canada on November 11th. Some provinces and territories celebrate it, also, on November 12th. My Dad hails from Newfoundland, and at times he made what he called scrappy pie to celebrate it. It is on Remembrance Day there that Canadians remember all of the fallen soldiers from past wars.
My great-uncle Charles was killed in Belgium in the first World War and is buried where he was killed defending his fallen comrades. His name is called out and his memory is saluted by a contingent of military members at Parliament every year on this day. For this I simply give you my father’s Americanized version of Scrappy Pie (or Newfoundland Seafood Pie):
Potato topping ingredients: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup fresh mashed potato, 4 ounces butter, 1 tablespoon milk, 2 Tablespoons dried breadcrumbs.
Filling: 16 ounces whitefish (cod, haddock, whiting or your choice), large cooked shrimp (8 ounces), 1 small onion- chopped fine, 1 cup frozen peas, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped fine, zest of a lemon – grated, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 2 cups milk.
Sift flour into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix this with the mashed potato until thoroughly blended. Blend in the butter, then draw into a dough, adding a bit of water until dough sticks together. Wrap dough in pastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
Prepare filling by cutting fish into chucks and putting them into a 10 inch pie pan or baking dish. Mix in the seafood, onions, peas, parsley and zest. Blend the cornstarch with a bit of milk in a bowl. Heat the remaining milk almost to boiling and stir it into the cornstarch mixture. Return mixture to pan and stir until the mixture thickens. Add seasoning and pour over fish filling. Cool for 20 minutes. Bring oven to 400F (200C).
Roll out the dough between sheets of wax paper to overlap to of pie plate. Remove the top of the waxed paper and use the bottom sheet to help position dough on top of seafood mixture.
Press dough around edges of pan and clean up the edges. Slash center of pie with small knife to vent steam. Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle liberally with plain breadcrumbs.
Put pie on a baking sheet Bake for 10 minutes – then drop temperature to 350F (180C). Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
My father cooked this for us when we were very young and it’s the closest I can come to the original recipe. I sought out Scrappy Pie recipes everywhere to no avail, so if someone could forward me more from the great nation of Canada, I would greatly appreciate it.
May you stay safe and sound on Remembrance Day. And to my remaining Newfoundland cousins, may the sea treat you right and the cod keep running.
In the United States, Veterans Day falls on November 11th this year. I am offering this little essay for your enjoyment. It was written by me when I was just a girl of twelve years old in response to a national contest sponsered by the Lodge of Elks in my hometown. I won the contest in the girls’ division and was very proud to have attended a ceremony where the essay was read by a group of veterans. The premise of the contest was to write a piece about ‘Old Glory‘ and how it related to veterans who fought in our many conflicts. I don’t know how appropriate it is to reprint here, but the sentiment then was heartfelt, and it remains that way to me today.
WHAT OLD GLORY MEANS TO ME
To me Old Glory means just what its famous name says, a flaming glory. It symbolizes the honor, pride, trust and independence of the United State of America. Old Glory is not just a flag. It’s more than that. It’s more than a piece of red, white and blue cloth made up of stars and stripes. Maybe it’s a beginning of a deserved liberty and feedom, and a country where the freedoms of press, speech, and worship have a chance to thrive. It describes a democracy in which no man shall suffer discrimination because of his color or race. To me it means the freedom of all people to choose religion, jobs, and politics.
Old Glory stands for a nation where no man shall be a slave, denied the education and support that every human being positively must have.
In my heart, it means a free land, in which dignity and authority are maintained to the fullest and best of the country’s ability. This great flag symbolizes our growing and striding country as a whole, a world power seeking peace which stands ready to defend the rights desired and cherished by every single person and American. It’s a nation in which important officials of the United States are voted on by the people and are responsible to the people and is not a dictatorship. Under a dictatorship our country might fall as other have done in past wars. It may also, to me, stand for the bloody battles of past conflicts. It means honor for the men and women who have sufffered in order to hold this United States together in time of crisis. Old Glory means much to me. It is the symbol of my country.
There is much more to this little essay that is lost in the 40 years since it was written and, of course, the conflicts in the Falklands, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others have taken place since that time. The sentiment was meant to honor our veterans, and I hope that this year you will not forget to remember the sacrifices that those who have served in our armed forces have made for us. These are men and woman who realize what their flag means to them. Please try to give our vets the honor they truly deserve for having given their all to their country.
Have a good Veterans Day.
Today brings a normalization of the weather here in New England after the monster hurriane, Sandy, hit our shores. We give thanks to God that we were spared, in my hometown, the devastation that struck the coast farther south of here, especially in the states of New York and New Jersey. Our prayers go out to those whose lives were disastrously affected by the hurricane everywhere along the eastern seaboard.
Today, for everyone who is able to celebrate this Halloween holiday with some resemblance of normalcy, I simply give you an recipe from an old church bulletin. I’m unsure where it originated from, but it was being used and copied somewhere around the 1960’s and has been made in my family to celebrate different holidays since that time. It is very good to use at children’s costume parties.
3 1/2 Tablespoons raspberry gelatin
3/4 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Beat egg whites and salt on high speed with electric mixer until light and foamy. Gradually add gelatin and sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks. Mix until sugar is totally dissolved or kisses will be sticky. Add the vinegar. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon onto lined, greased baking sheet. Bake kisses at 250 degrees for 25 minutes and then turn off the oven, leaving them in oven for additional 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and remove immediately to wire baking rack to cool.
Makes 6 dozen.
I hope you find these simple to make, and please have a safe, happy Halloween night.
About 2000 years ago in what is now the green lands of Ireland, the nation of France, and the United Kingdom, the new year was celebrated on November 1st. It was the beginning of the cold, dark weather in those lands. The winter season was synonymous with death. The Celts lived in those lands and they held the belief that on October 31st, the night of Samhain, that the ghosts of all the dead came back to life. n that night, the spirits played pranks and tricks, causing problems by damaging the harvest and reeking havoc in many other ways. Celtic priests believed that these spirits had come back to earth to ease the Druids’ attempts to predict the future.
To solve this, the Druids built large bonfires to burn sacrifices. The populace observed this day of the dead by wearing costumes in the form of animal skins or animal heads. Fortune telling was also done on this night. When the celebration was done the hearths were relit from the bonfires to usher in a mild winter season.
When the Romans conquer most of the territory in the year 43 A.D., they held rule for over 400 years. During this time two holidays were merged into one creating the Celtic celebration called Samhain. One holiday was Feratia, held in late October and the other was name after the goddess Pomona, goddess of trees and fruit. It is believed that apple bobbing originated with this goddess because she was symbolized by the apple. Today, children at Halloween parties held throughout the world bob for apples. The custom more than likely originated in those ancient times.
By the seventeenth century, Christianity had spread to Celt lands. Pope Benedict IV, in the 1600’s, deemed November 1st as All Saints Day, trying to replace the practice of the pagan festival of the dead with a Christian replacement. This day of All Saints was also known as All-hallowmas or, alternately, All-hallows. The night before it, which once was known as Samhein began to be know as All Hallows Eve. and, as the years went by the night became known as Halloween.
To this day bonfire are lit, in some places, on Halloween night. Children and adults alike dress in devilish costumes as ghosts, goblins, favorite characters and all manner of ghoulish, frightening dress. The populace in many nations delight in door to door trick-or-treating and festive, spooky parties. Little know the true meaning of Halloween night, but all delight in the ghastly activities.
Below is my recipe for Druid Stew. No one knows from whence this stew came from, but it could have come from the burning hearths somewhere in the land of the Celts.
2 pounds stewing beef, cut in cubes
5 potatoes, skin on, chopped into one inch cubes
1 1/2 cups cut up celery, slice diagonally
5 Tbsp. quick cooking tapioca
6 carrots, cut diagonally
1/2 cup beans (northern, pea bean, kidney) – canned
1 package onion soup mix
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 cups tomato juice
4 cups water
two bay leafs
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
In layers with beef at bottom, place all ingredients except tapioca , juice and water, one on top of another (in layers) into a deep oven-proof pot with lid. Pour liquid on top of dry ingredients and then sprinkle with tapioca. Put lid on tightly or use tin foil.
Bake at 350 degree for 4 hours. Do not open the oven door or take lid off pot. Do not stir the stew – leave the lid on.
Serve with puff pastry pumpkins, witches and ghosts made from Halloween cookie cutters and frozen puff pastry sheets, or with your favorite ghostly bread. (Puff pastry can be found in your supermarkets’ frozen department).
- Top ten Irish traditions for Halloween – SEE PHOTOS (irishcentral.com)
Salem, Massachusetts lies just north of my home in the vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts on the northeastern coast of the United States. The town is steeped in early colonial history being the location of the famed Salem witch trials. To this day, the infamy of trials remains strong in the minds of New Englanders, and to the thousands of American tourists and foreign visitors who flock to Salem throughout the fall season and Halloween night on October 31st. During this time, many venues are open to visitors who come dressed in all manner of costume to visit restaurants, plays, museums, local merchants, ghost houses, and historical attractions. If you have a chance to come to Salem for a attraction or tour, don’t be surprised if you see revelers dressed as ghosts, goblins or ghoulies, witches, monsters, and vampires. You might even meet up on their fog ridden, supposedly haunted sidewalks or graveyards, the ghosts of hung trial victims or, perhaps, a wandering brain-eating zombie. Revelers abound and children and, adults as well, all enjoy the festivities that are, in thanks, mostly to the witch trials that took place there. Here is a brief, capsulized explanation of the events that took place in those harsh, superstitious times.
In 1692 at what is now Salem, 20 people were put to death and 200 were accused of practicing witchcraft. Hysteria reined in the town and the surrounding area, spreading throughout Massachusetts. It was during those early years of the colony that it was believed that the devil granted those loyal to him the power to cast spells and to bewitch the inhabitants.
In 1628, Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded through a charter with King Charles II of England. The Puritans, through this charter, were given rights to colonize in that area of Massachusetts. The charter was revoked later because of violations, including discriminating against Anglicans and running a mint, among other infractions.
In 1691, resentment ran high among the colonists. Families argued with neighbors over minor disputes, smallpox ran rampant, and problems arose with the local Native American tribes. Add to that harsh New England weather and the populace was ripe for tension.
In the early Winter of 1692, young girls – Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams began having fits (contortions, shaking, screaming and gibbering in what appeared to be some devilish throes of spasms). Soon, other girls in the town also started showing signs of what the local physician deemed to be bewitchment by the devil. Arrest warrants were issued the following month for Sarah Good, an elderly woman, and Sarah Osborn, a beggar, who the girls accused of witchcraft. As time went on more girls joined the hysteria and they too began having uncontrollable devilish fits, with the addition of feeling as if they were being bitten and pinched.
Mary Shelby, a neighboring matron, proposed a counter black magic in the form of requesting that her slave, Tituba, bake a rye cake cooked with the urine of a victim. The cake was to be fed to a dog (a witches agent). Tituba was also being suspected of witchcraft and bewitching of her neighbors. Her baking of the witch-cake made her even more suspect. On February 29th warrants were issued for Tituba and two other woman. Some victims, at this point claimed they saw “witches flying through the mist”. Tituba, in the end, after a trial in a court of ‘oyer’ and ‘terminer’ admitted to being a witch to shift blame from herself and cast doubts on others.
Eventually, when the trials ended nineteen people had been executed, most hung at the Salem Gallows and others pressed by stone until their death. Four of the victims of the witchcraft hysteria perished in prison. Overall, 200 people were accused of witchcraft. At a later date all of the people accused of witchery were exonerated, but the memory still lingers among New Englanders. Today, what remains of the accused and victims are the, perhaps, imagined spirits that roam the streets and byways of modern Salem, Massachusetts.
I am including a recipe that I found locally that is very close to the original used in the early years at Salem and the surrounding locale. This recipe dates from the 1800’s, but I do not know how close in ingredients it is to the original. Fat and calorie content have not been adjusted. It would not do justice to this original to change it. The flavor would just not be the same.
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup molasses
1 cup whole milk
1 cup salt pork, chopped very fine
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Sift together the flour and spices. Add in the chopped salt pork and raisins. Mix thoroughly. Dissolve the baking soda in the molasses and then add it to the milk. Mix well until molasses is incorporated. Gradually add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, beating well with electric mixer until well blended. The mixture should be smoother at this point. Pour into large pudding mold of your choosing. A Halloween themed mold would be a good choice. Steam the pudding for 4 hours. Cool the pudding and unmold on fancy ceramic plate. Serve with sauce of your choosing.
(To steam pudding – 1. Find a large pan with tight fitting lid to fit your mold 2. Lightly bunch a large wad of aluminum foil and place in bott m of pan 3. Wrap pudding mold in cheesecloth and place of foil without mold touching pan bottoms or sides 4. Add water up side of pudding mold halfway 5. Cover pan tightly using fitted lid and steam on low heat for 4 hours on low heat or until tester comes out clean 6. Unmold from pan after gently loosening by turning upside down onto platter or plate.)
This can be served with some whipped cream. This is a nice dish for a cold Halloween night dinner.