Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ceres and porridge

Ceres is a Roman goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. Her name means "bread" or "grain". The Romans melted most of the Greek Demeter (Earth Mother) cults and traditions with their Ceres.

Ceres is depicted usually with a grain (corn in the meaning "old world grain"; barley, wheat, rye)

Ceres husband is Liber (the Free One), associated with husbandry and crops, and they have a daughter, Libera. (Sometimes the name is used of Ceres.)
As Ceres' daughter, Libera was also called Proserpina. Not "first snake" but from "proserpere - to emerge".
This triad of deities is essential for agriculture and also bound to other cycles of life and death.

Libera is not considered to be the same Goddess as Libertas, though I can easily think they are the same. Libera Proserpina was celebrated in the middle of March... The jump to Lady's Day; Spring Equinox; Easter/Ostara; Pesach, isn't long, and what is Easter anything but the festival of freedom and liberty?
The Pagans welcome Libera Proserpina back from her "incarceration" with Pluto, underground, and bring offerings of grain and spring flowers to Her and Her Mother. The seed has been sleeping in Her grave and now bursts out from Her dark jail, to grow and bring life to Her subjects.

One could also get "all metaphysical" here and think about our life, our incarnation, as a period of freedom in our spiritual life. When we are dead, we are like angels, without free will. Depending on the culture, we might just sleep, or be tortured, or just wander around as willess spirits, shadows, ghosts, or perhaps we are in heaven praising God in eternal glory or merge into the Great Spirit and become one with it. I cannot remember any spiritual belief system where "life after death" means you continue "living" as you did in life, making your own choices, having goals, experiencing things, participating in life just as you did before. I suppose zombies get close, but zombies are considered being dead and not doing this "life-thing" of their own free will and choice. Also, in some reincarnational beliefs "life after death" is seen as some sort of preparing period, where you can "catch up" with what you didn't do in you "real life".
This is just a thought I got right now, so this thesis is not researched or considered at all :-D I would be interested in your thoughts, though :-)

I was checking out my "commitment" - I haven't been baking much anything the whole year, except some Danish Rye.

The "Bread Baking Babes" have been baking things. Among others Austrian Strietzel. That is not the same thing as Streusel, even though they sound very similar. Streusel is one of my favorites, how ever you make it :-D It means basically "baked goods with crumble topping".

Here's a "killer blueberry pie" - because it is blueberry season here in Sweden :-)
and here's blueberry crumble cake, made with strawberries (and I would use forest strawberries, because there's an ocean of them in the forest around here too... they are a bit overdone now, and would suit well to crumbles.)

These are absolutely perfect recipes for Lammas, that's in only two weeks from now, and suit well to be frozen, if you make a lot. It's not the best season to bake, though, as it's so darn HOT! But, dog days. Summer King has lost and is angry, so he makes everyone suffer.

As food, I suggest grits, polenta, farina - corn porridge in different shapes :-) It is really nice during the hot days, and eaten a lot in Southern Europe and Southern USA and Mexico.

Sofkee, Safki, "Indian Pudding", corn pudding, maize pudding
(you can also make this by leaving out the "sweet stuff", and have savory pudding. Or boil a coffee pot of water and mix in roughly ground corn - about the same amount as coffee - let it boil a little more, and then pour the "soup" in a cup - that's a bit different kind of sofkee. Here's a couple more safki recipes. It's really wonderful camp fire cooking :-))

Here's creamy polenta, that you can serve with osso buco, short ribs or oxtail stew. All these can be made overnight, when the electricity is cheap and the heat not so horrible :-) Also, stews can be easily taken with to potlucks and camping :-)

Here's pan fried farina. (if you leave out cheese, mustard and eggs, you have farina porridge)

Moroccan Farina (bread)

about grits :-)
(the Swedish word 'gryta' means a stew or a pot where the stew is made in.)

shrimp and grits - breakfast for dinner Now, shrimps might not be a good idea during the dog days, but if you are sure of the condition of your shrimps and like them, why not :-)
Here's sort of the same recipe, but upped ;-) creamy corn custard and deviled shrimps
You can use grits - or corn custard - for any meat.

Chili dusted pork chops with strawberries and grits
bigfoot barley wine braised pork belly with chevre grits
baked sausage and creamy white cheddar grits
chicken roasted in a pot

Here "spicy, cheesy grits" and "grits and quinoa with spicy pink beens" for vegetarians, and "vegan grits with greens", "tempeh bacon grits" and "tomato and grits" for vegans

* all about porridge

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