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Posts tagged ‘Easter’

Spring Time Fun and the Hot Cross Bun!

 

Preparing the Hot Cross Buns

Preparing the Hot Cross Buns

 

Spring time offers foods which are rich in history and symbolism. These foods can be broken down into three groups: 1. Food specifically related to Christ, such as ( lamb, for “the lamb of God.”)  Easter was the time to start eating the season’s new lamb. 2. Food related to pagan rites of spring (eggs for re-birth) (ham for luck), (lamb for sacrifice) and (cake/bread for fertility) 3. Modern foods such as candy and the Easter basket.

Eggs are traditionally connected with re-birth, rejuvenation and immortality. This is why they are celebrated at Easter. In the early Christian times eggs were forbidden during Lent, so this made them bountiful and exciting, forty days later. They were dyed or decorated in bright colors to honor this celebration. Red eggs brought to the table on Easter Sunday symbolized life, and were given as emblems of friendship.  Eggs with the pattern “XV” etched on them stood for “Christ is Risen”, a traditional Easter greeting. We hunt for eggs during an Easter Egg Hunt to identify with riches. Eggs were a treasure, a bounty of nature, and the treasures were deposited by hens in unsuspecting places. To find such a hidden nest was equal to finding a hidden treasure.

Preparing the Hot Cross Buns!

The Baked Hot Cross Buns!

The word “Easter” came from the name for the anglo saxon goddess of light and spring, Eostre.  Special dishes were cooked in her honor so that the year would bring fertility.  Most important of these dishes was a tiny cake or small spiced bun. The association of protection and fertility, birth and re-birth, became a Christian tradition, especially in English society. During Tudor times, the English custom of eating spiced buns on Good Friday was established when a London by-law was introduced forbidding the sale of such buns except on Good Friday, Christmas and burials. Issued in 1592, the thirty-six year of Queen Elizabeth I, by the London Clerk of Markets the proclamation read: That no bakers at any time or time hereafter make, utter or sell by retail, within or without their houses, unto any of the Queen’s subjects any spice cakes, buns, biscuits  or other spice bread except at burials or on the Friday before Easter or at Christmas, upon pain of death or forfeiture of all such spiced bread to the poor. A cross was etched or decorated on the bun to represent Christ’s Cross. “One-a-penny, two-a penny, hot cross buns”, was the call of the day. Superstitions regarding bread that was baked on Good Friday date back to a very early period. In England particularly, people believed that bread baked on this day could be hardened in the oven and kept all year to protect the house from fire. Sailors took loaves of it on their voyages to prevent shipwreck and a Good Friday loaf buried in a heap of corn kept away rats, mice and weevils. They also hung hot cross buns in the house on Good Friday to protect them from bad luck during the year and finely grated bread, mixed with water was sometimes used as medicine.

The Hot Cross Buns!

The Hot Cross Buns for Gifts!

Bath buns, hot cross buns, spice buns, penny buns, Chelsea buns, ( hot cross buns sold in great quantity by the Chelsea Bun House in the 18th century) and currant buns; all small, plump, sweet, fermented cakes that are English institutions! Join me today as I bake my hot cross buns! To enjoy this recipe too see, Hot Cross Buns on the King Arthur Webpage !  My favorite place for baking needs! Happy Easter!

Is Jesus Homeless?

 

Is He Homeless?

Is He Homeless?

 

Is Jesus Homeless?  That question has our small community of 11,000 in a dither. A statue depicting Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench has been placed in front of St Alban’s Episcopal Church, in Davidson, NC.  Jesus is huddled under a blanket with only his pierced feet uncovered. The reaction to the statue was immediate. My friend called me and asked if I had seen the homeless man at the entrance to the neighborhood. “What homeless man?” I went to see for myself. Yes, he looks very real. One woman called the police, thinking it was an actual homeless person. Another neighbor says it creeps him out. Some neighbors think it’s an insulting depiction of the Son of God, and what appears is a hobo curled on a bench. Some people have found comfort sitting on the bench to pray. Others feel the statue reminds us of the marginalized of society. What are your thoughts? As a traveler I have seen great religious statues and artwork all over the world. Many have caused a stir in their day. This statue is no different. It will mean something different to everyone. Today, of all days, I don’t think Jesus is homeless.  HE LIVES!

Charleston For Easter

Some of the window treatments and planters in Charleston

The Windows of Charleston

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This post is a break of sorts from the Italian vacation prep.  Well sort of. My husband and I just returned from Charleston, one of the greatest cities in the United States.  It has everything……  cozy neighborhoods, fantastic architecture, history, cobblestone and cannonball streets, terrific shopping, sea breezes, did I mention the food?  Fabulous!  We spent the weekend walking, walking and more walking the neighborhoods, which I never tire of.  I love the vibrant colors on the homes, one of my favorites is the tangerine color of these shutters.  Or maybe the cameo pink of the skinny house. Or maybe the pigeon white of the antebellum. I really can’t decide which one I like best!  Temperature in the seventies, the azaleas were in bloom, the fountains gurgling.  Around every corner is a hidden garden, certainly one on the side of the Charleston House.  We peek through the wrought iron gates.  The flower boxes are overflowing at the windows. The churches, especially St Michaels and St Phillips were decked out in fine Easter greenery and floral arrangements were going up on the doors, along the pews and at the altar on Saturday.   The ladies stroll Market Street in Easter parade outfits wearing beautiful flowing dresses, pastel hats and gloves. It’s been a while since I saw women so dressed up. Reminded me that I do own a fancy hat!DSCN0021DSCN0088DSCN0059DSCN0026DSCN0064DSCN0066DSCN0050

I also had a method to my madness. I was breaking in a new camera.  I wanted to make sure I could take the shots I wanted without fiddling with the camera for ten minutes.  I like to shoot and go.  My current Canon camera has an eye problem.  The shutter won’t shut all the way or it catches sometimes and won’t close at all.  So I opted for a Nikon with lots of buttons, settings and zooooooom.  I have my friend Katy from PraguebyKaty to thank for even thinking about getting a different camera.  She takes wonderful pictures. She takes unusual shots and great videos too.  Who knew a camera could have twenty scene descriptions alone? I know indoor and outdoor, ha!  This camera has a close-up, food, snow, beach, fireworks, museum, dusk/dawn, sunset, party/ indoor, panorama and pet portrait, to name a few.  For the first hour or two I had the camera on auto select. It kept telling me I needed the flash, but it seemed really sunny out to me. So I snapped away with the flash on.  The pictures looked washed out.  Then I switched to the scene mode.  Much better! I didn’t get the really flashy camera, with different lenses and such.  Too much to learn before I leave for Italy.  I’ll keep playing with this one until I get it right. Here are more of the pictures I took in Charleston.DSCN0073DSCN0102DSCN0032

There are plenty of great restaurants here.  This time we tried out some that were new to us and we were not disappointed.  Now I must add here that I have been on Nutrisystem since January 1st and eating out in Charleston was  a delight I had been saving up for. I love low country food.  Shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, mustard roasted brussels sprouts. The first place we went to was The Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe.  A hole in the wall place,  that could easily be passed by. The locals eat here, need I say more?  We just wanted a no fuss lunch and to eat outside in the nice weather.  The place was packed both indoors and out.  The Dixie Burger is a hamburger with fried green tomatoes, bacon and pimento cheese.  AND homemade pickles on the side.  Awesome!  The other items that caught my eye were the tomato pie and the bacon pecan pie.  I didn’t try those, but I wanted to.  Oh and they serve Nehi Orange in the bottle.  Can’t remember the last time I had a Nehi.  I was in heaven!DSCN0009DSCN0008

Going to Charleston was also a chance to  break in shoes.  The shoes I am thinking about taking to Italy.  I wanted to get some mileage on those shoes.  Would they be comfortable after walking three to six hours? I test all shoes before I pack them in the suitcase. Many hours, many miles.  It will save me heartache and foot ache later. My favorite shoe shop is the Charleston Shoe Company.  They specialize in the cobblestone to cocktail shoe. The shoes are very stylish, come in a bazillion colors and styles and are very comfortable. They are machine washable!!!!! I am showing some of my favorites here that I am narrowing down for the trip.  I really am leaning toward the red to wear as my dress up shoes.  Maybe I will see the Pope and we can compare shoes!DSCN0127DSCN0100DSCN0126

Easter or Any Time in Italy

The Duomo in Florence Italy

The Duomo in Florence Italy

Italy Sep _ Oct 2009 163

Easter……..I thought I would share some pictures with you. It has been cold in the south the entire month of March to me. No rabbits, no eggs, no peeps. The birds are hardly looking for a mate. Or have they found their mate and are trying to stay warm? This is why I love Italy.  On every corner you are reminded of God, of something bigger than you.  In Rome there are nuns and priests everywhere all the time.  There are Cardinals in their bright red robes and some in magenta huddling in groups to discuss who knows what.  There are masses of people in the churches or waiting in line to get into church.

Italy Sep _ Oct 2009 507The smallest church will have the most fantastic art. But, what I like are the statues, crosses, stained glass windows, icons, churches big and small, bells ringing and the small memorials on the sides of buildings and at crossroads in the countryside.  The Italians say, “God is always watching and it is a good way to remind you to choose between good and evil.”  I like to think of it as God is always watching over me.  He is everywhere in everything.  I like to be Italy Sep _ Oct 2009 534reminded.
In a very small Italian village, Montisi, just a blip on the map, my husband and I took a narrow steep paved path from the car park up the hill.  At the top was a tiny stone church perched on the cliff.  Here on the front of the church was a stone with a map of the village etched into it. In Italian it read, “you are here.”  The path took you to the church and back down making a circle.  A beginning with no end.  Have a blessed Easter!

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