Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead


All Things Michaelmas!

I LOVE the Feast of the Archangels. We’ve got a feast planned, but, I’m 38 weeks pregnant today on Michaelmas, so you never know if we’ll be having a Michaelmas Baby instead of a Michaelmas Feast. Just in case I go into labor  and Michaelmas feasting gets skipped over this year, I thought I would compile some of the previous Michaelmas posts and some good resources I’ve found.

What is Michaelmas?

Michaelmas (pronounced Mickel-mas) is a feast day celebrating the Archangels. It follows the fall Ember Days (last Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) during which Christians traditionally thanked God for his creation and the bounty of the earth and fasted penitentially. Michaelmas was a Holy Day of Obligation until the 18th century and honors St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael. My linguist husband particularly likes the name Michael which means in Hebrew “Who Is Like God?” and is the battle cry of the angels. St. Michael fought against Lucifer and the fallen angels and defended the friends of God. You probably remember that St. Gabriel announced the coming of Jesus to the Virgin Mary and also the coming of John the Baptist to Zachariah. St. Raphael is found in the book of Tobit.

Michaelmas Menus:

For a seasonal table for Michaelmas, think of autumnal foods. Usually our Michaelmas feast is full of beta-carotene.

Carrots are very traditional. According to a Scottish custom, women would harvest wild carrots on Michaelmas by digging triangular holes with a three-pronged mattock. Apparently the holes represent St. Michael’s shield and the mattock represents his trident.

Terrible iPhone pic from 2009. My apologies.

I love this Whiskey-Glazed Carrots recipe by The Pioneer Woman. I can’t help but love her. These are seriously amazing. Whiskey? Butter? Brown Sugar? Can you go wrong?

St. Michael's Bannock on the left!

Another traditional food is St. Michael’s Bannock, a simple, sweet bread. We’ve used the recipe from Meredith Gould’s The Catholic Home. It’s super easy and turns out well.

Goose is also very traditional but we’ve discovered that it’s almost impossible to find an organic goose that’s remotely in our price range. So, we’ve cooked turkeys or chickens for the occasion. Last year we roasted sweet potatoes and onions with the chicken which turned out so yummy. This year we have tons of delicious sweet potatoes from the garden so we’ll definitely do a repeat!

Blackberries: There’s a legend concerning Lucifer falling into a blackberry bush after being expelled from heaven by St. Michael and spitting on the blackberries to make them bitter so that they cannot be picked after Michaelmas.

On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on the blackberries.

-Irish Proverb

We’ve had blackberry buckle and blackberry cobbler but since they’re not in season right now in Florida, we try to just get organic frozen berries.

Ugly photo, delicious cobbler, promise!

A super easy and yummy blackberry cobbler recipe is The Pioneer Woman’s.

A Michaelmas Prayer:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

Michaelmas Daisies:

The aster flower, also known as the Michaelmas Daisy is in season in North America at the end of September. We meant to grow some from seed this year but…never got around to it. Last year Benjamin and I got beautiful mums (as seen in the picture at the top) and this year my two sweet boys picked beautiful Daisies they found and Bachelor’s Buttons and Marigolds from our garden:

What a pretty sight to wake up to on Michaelmas morning!

The Michaelmas daisies, among dede weeds,
Bloom for St Michael’s valorous deeds.
And seems the last of flowers that stood,
Till the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude.”

I can’t believe that two years ago, Benjamin was still a wee babe!

Just look at my grown up boy on this Michaelmas morning!

He’s still not into wearing pants, but my, he’s big and cute.

I guess I look a little different this year, too.

38 weeks and ready for Baby Lucy Elanor to arrive! Doesn’t a Michaelmas baby sound like a good idea?! C’mon, Lucy!

Michaelmas posts from other years:

Carrots for Michaelmas – September 29th

How the Michaelmas Feast Turned Out (2009)

Preparing for Michaelmas (2010)

The Feast of the Archangels: Michaelmas 2010



The Feast of the Archangels: Michaelmas 2010
September 30, 2010, 1:47 pm
Filed under: Community, Fasting, Feasting, Michaelmas, Saints, Seasons | Tags:

We feasted on what turned out to be a mini-Thanksgiving late last night with four friends and my brother. It was lovely to feast and celebrate St. Michael and the Archangels and share lots of orange, autumnal, beta-carotene-packed edibles at the change of season. And speaking of the change of season, Michaelmas is a feast that comes after the fall Ember Days (last Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) during which Christians traditionally thanked God for his creation and the bounty of the earth and fasted penitentially. These days are no longer mandatory fast days but I love the idea of connecting the liturgical calendar to the natural seasons. I’d like to be more intentional about observing the Ember Days this coming year. The next ones are observed just after St. Lucy’s feast in December.

Benjamin and I couldn’t find any real Michaelmas Daisies so we consoled ourselves with this pretty fall Mums which we’ll plant tomorrow. Our friends Thomas and Kellie brought an awesome bouquet of carrots which is oh so apropos for the day (read about the carrot custom in last year’s post).

Daniel roasted the bird last year, but was working a twelve-hour shift yesterday, so this was my first attempt at roasting a chicken. Luckily, Thomas and Kellie are chicken roasting pros so I nagged them into showing up a little early to help me figure out if the chicken was done (a goose was not to be found! maybe next year!). Here’s a picture:

They’re newlyweds. Aren’t they cute? This is probably the right time to say that I’ve known Thomas for almost 20 years. Our families eat Thanksgiving together and we share childhood memories of creating bizarre nerdy board games together that no one would ever want to play. I was wearing my Laura-Ingalls-Wilderesque-Pioneer-Style-Black-Lace-up-Boots when we met. I can say this with confidence because I wore them with every outfit I had for years. And Kellie is his new bride and we like her an awful lot.

Our friends Elizabeth and Daniel brought bread and stuffing which was just delicious but I failed to get any pictures of them or of my brother. Sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I was distracted trying to capture a picture of Little Bear, but all i got was this one of him picking his nose.

yeah, i know, it's blurry, but the kid is always MOVING.

Speaking of Little Bear, I think he’s going to be Dobby the House Elf for Halloween. Costume suggestions are welcome.

We topped the evening off by sitting on the back porch in the delicious fall weather and consuming the Pioneer Woman’s Blackberry Cobbler recipe with Vanilla Ice Cream. Check out last year’s post if you’re curious about blackberries and Michaelmas.

More appetizing than the picture make it look, promise. It's all gone.

My brother Garrett decided to go the extra mile  with a Georgia Peach Cobbler Ice Cream addition. No one understood him when he asked if anybody else had “Double Cobblered it.” I think we’ve cleared it up, though.

A happy Michaelmas, it was!



Preparing for Michaelmas
September 27, 2010, 3:45 pm
Filed under: Feasting, Michaelmas

It’s been a year since I started this project to document our lives and celebrate the Christian Year. Due to job changes, a move across the country, grad school, buying a house, moving in and setting up, starting new jobs, and having all our books still in boxes, it’s been a pretty sporadic project. But since Michaelmas is where it all began, I’m going to try to celebrate the feast again this year. If you’d like to learn more about Michaelmas you can view last year’s post here. If you want to see pictures of our feast last year you can view them here.

I’d really like to take Little Bear to our favorite local nursery and find some Michaelmas Daisies for us to plant together.

“The Michaelmas daisies, among dede weeds,
Bloom for St Michael’s valorous deeds.
And seems the last of flowers that stood,
Till the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude.”

I’m planning on making the same Glazed Carrots as last year from the Pioneer Woman’s recipe. I’ve made them two or three times for other special occasions and anything with that much butter and brown sugar has to be good.

And I think I’m also going to turn to the Pioneer Woman’s Blackberry Cobbler recipe for this year’s blackberry dish.

I haven’t done any big planning for the rest of the meal. Anybody know where I can find a Goose in Tallahassee? Last year we just roasted a turkey but a GOOSE…now that’s ideal.

The weather has turned fallish just in time for Michaelmas which marks the change of season into autumn. Benjamin and I were playing on the porch this morning and he said, “cold!” with a look of surprise and confusion.



How the Michaelmas Feast Turned Out
September 30, 2009, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Feasting, Michaelmas

NOTE: these are all pictures from my phone so they are less than stunning. Hopefully pictures from our actual camera will be uploaded later.

Because my obliging husband bought groceries between his classes, at 5pm we were ready to head home and begin cooking the feast.

The turkey took a bit longer to cook than we expected so the little boy had his own feast of sweet potato and some banana before getting very sleepy.

 

 

Look at those sleepy eyes!

Look at those sleepy eyes!

 

So he crawled into the bathroom for his nightly bath.

 

 

He loves baby bath time!

He loves baby bath time!

 

He was charming as usual.

bds118

After baby bath time and sleepy time we finished preparing the food and set the table.

 

 

Eleanor set the table.

Eleanor set the table.

 

The carrots were a success!

 

 

I did use whiskey and they were delicious.

I did use whiskey and they were delicious.

 

Eleanor’s St. Michael’s Bannock was full of currants and spectacular.

michaelmas2

The stuffing was scrumptious.

michaelmas5

The long-awaited turkey did not disappoint.

 

 

There was some confusion as to the removal of the metal thing.

There was some confusion as to the removal of the metal thing.

 

Angelic glow from the chandelier!

Angelic glow from the chandelier!

 

Then we ate the blackberry buckle that Dan and Hillary made.

 

 

With cream and white chocolate almond ice cream!

With cream and white chocolate almond ice cream!

 

Heather quite enjoyed it.

Heather quite enjoyed it.

 

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.



Carrots for Michaelmas – September 29th
September 29, 2009, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Feasting, Michaelmas

Until this year, my only exposure to Michaelmas was a reference in Jane Austen novels and films.

“If I do not have the three of you married before Michaelmas, it will not be my fault!”

“If I do not have the three of you married before Michaelmas, it will not be my fault!”

 

What is Michaelmas, you ask?

Good question. As I’m just now discovering these traditions and attempting to observe them, I expect that a good deal of what I say will be inaccurate rubbish. Feel free to correct what I’ve gotten wrong and take everything else with a grain of salt. That being said…

Michaelmas (pronounced Mickel-mas) is a feast day celebrating St. Michael the Archangel, St. Raphael, and St. Gabriel.  Surprisingly, considering my complete ignorance of this feast day until recently, Michaelmas used to be quite a big deal.  In fact, it was a Holy Day of Obligation until the 18th century and was a principal Feast of Christ for Lutheran Christians.

My linguist husband particularly likes the name Michael which means in Hebrew “Who Is Like God?” and is the battle cry of the angels. St. Michael fought against Lucifer and the fallen angels and defended the friends of God. You probably remember that St. Gabriel announced the coming of Jesus to the Virgin Mary and also the coming of John the Baptist to Zachariah. St. Raphael has something to do with Tobias in the book of Tobit which I won’t pretend I’m familiar with. Maybe next year.

How do you celebrate it?

FOOD.  At least that how we’re going to celebrate it. Although goose is traditional, no geese could be found in our grocery stores this Michaelmas so we’re sticking with chicken.

Carrots, another typical Michaelmas staple, WERE available at the store although they’re not quite ready to be plucked from our garden. I decided to try this recipe sans whiskey because I didn’t feel like going to the liquor store on my way home.  (I love this food blog, The Pioneer Woman Cooks!, due to all her beautiful photographs.)

According to a Scottish custom, women would harvest wild carrots on Michaelmas by digging triangular holes with a three-pronged mattock. Apparently the holes represent St. Michael’s shield and the mattock represents his trident. Maybe Trinitarian as well? Our housemate Eleanor was particularly thrilled that the carrots are then tied together with red thread and carrot bouquets are given as gifts.  She dreams of someday having a bridal bouquet of carrots and was pleased that she wasn’t the first to think it up.  Weird, but kind of pretty, perhaps?  Festive at least?

We’re also going to make St. Michael’s Bannock which is a traditional Michaelmas bread with a recipe from The Catholic Home by Meredith Gould.

(Love this)

(Love this)

 

Some friends are bringing a blackberry dessert as blackberries are also traditional. There’s a legend concerning Lucifer falling into a blackberry bush after being expelled from heaven by St. Michael and spitting on the blackberries to make them bitter so that they cannot be picked after Michaelmas.

On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on the blackberries.

-Irish Proverb

Pictures to come tomorrow. And yes, Marmee and Geema, your grandson will be featured in them.