Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Traditional Food for Transfiguration

In the middle of the Dormition Fast falls the Feast of the Transfiguration.  I was looking around for traditional recipes for the feast and came across a neat "book" at the EWTN website.  It has lots of recipes for various feasts, including these two for Transfiguration:
August 6: Feast of the Transfiguration

The origin of this Christian festival has been attributed to
Saint Gregory the Illuminator who flourished in Lower
Armenia during the fourth century. He is said to have
substituted it for a pagan feast of Aphrodite called
"Vartavarh" (the flaming of the rose) and the old name was
retained, in that region at least, to designate the
Transfiguration, because "Christ opened his glory like a
rose on Mount Thabor."

In Armenian villages the day is still celebrated with
unusual ceremonies in the course of which peasants lead to
the church a sheep with decorated horns, on each tip of
which is placed a lighted candle. Flowers, fruit, and
sheaves are also brought and laid before the altar.
Following this ceremony a fair usually takes place; there
are races and games, and a crown of roses is the customary
prize. During the feasting that follows is likely to appear.


3 cups cracked wheat            6 cups stock
4 cups minced cooked            1/2 cup melted butter
     lamb                       pepper
salt                            cinnamon

Soak the cracked wheat (cracked barley may be substituted)
overnight. Drain the wheat, mix with the meat, and salt to
taste. Place in a large kettle, add about half the stock
(water and bouillon cubes may be used, allowing one cube for
each cup of water), and heat slowly. Cook for about an hour,
stirring almost constantly and adding stock as necessary.
Serve in hot, deep plates, pour melted butter over each
serving, and dust with pepper and cinnamon to taste.

The Feast of the Transfiguration was slower to be observed
in the Western Church and is not mentioned until the ninth
century. It was made universal by Rome on the day when
Hunyady gained his victory over the Turks on August 6, 1456.
It is now the titular feast of the Church of St. John
Lateran, and on this day the Pope presses a bunch of ripe
grapes into the chalice at Mass or uses new wine. Also in
Rome raisins are blessed on the Feast of the
Transfiguration, and the Greek and Russian Churches too
conduct a special ceremony for blessing grapes and other

Since the grape is given so much prominence on this feast,
we may give the following recipe:

Spiced Grape Jelly

8 lbs. Concord grapes          2 sticks cinnamon
2 cups vinegar                 1 tablespoon whole cloves

Wash, remove from stems, and drain the grapes. Put half of
them in a preserving kettle, add the vinegar, cinnamon, and
cloves and then the rest of the grapes. Cook gently for
about fifteen minutes or until soft. Strain through a jelly
bag without pressing so that the juice remains clear. Take 1
cup of sugar for each cup of juice, boil to the proper
consistency for jelly, pour into hot glasses and cover with
1/2 inch of paraffin.

1 comment:

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

I hadn't come across this book - thanks for the tip!