Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Because I can't be Me for Halloween...

It's the final countdown!!!!! Halloween is in less than a week, and I'm pretty stoked about it. Our Harvest Feast is on Monday (seriously?!) we have so much left to do as far as making our house ready for company. We still have a lot of boxes in the living room (the kitchen is a little better), and the hallway upstairs is almost  unusable because of a giant rug and some boxes blocking the way.... but we still have this week to finish up the cleaning, and then it's onto buying the food and cooking it and then EATING IT. Yay!

Get ready to CHOW DOWN.

More Halloween Foods

I've got some more great Halloween recipes that I've found on the web.  Well, they're not Halloween in the sense that they are not the American interpretation of Halloween, but more like the Samhain, Celtic/Irish/Old World interpretations of this time of year.  I'm not sure if any of these will be made for our Feast table come October 31st, but I thought I'd post them anyway, and if I do end up making them, I'll be sure to post pictures.

5 oz. flour
5 fluid oz. water
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs (separated)
1 Tbsp. melted butter
2 large cooking apples
4 oz. confectioner's sugar
lemon juice
oil for deep frying
Make batter at least an hour before required, using the following method: Sift together flour and salt. Make a well in the center, add the cooled melted butter and some of the water and egg yolks. Work in the flour and beat until smooth. Add remaining water. Leave to stand. Just before using, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Fold into batter mix. Peel, core and slice apples (make slices about 1/4 - 1/2" thick). Dip into batter and deep fry in very hot oil (175°-180° C) until golden. Drain and serve drenched with confectioner's sugar and sprinkled with lemon juice. (click here to see more recipes from this site!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

FOOD (Because I'm at school and I'm Hungry)

A few things:

1. We finally moved!  After a frustrating, exhausting two months we've finally found an apartment in the East Bay.  This weekend we made the big move, loading up a uhaul full of all of our junk (and three cars) and taking all of it to our new abode in Alameda.  Thanks to our dear friends who labored all day Saturday to complete our move in a timely manner (we love you!).

2. Halloween is in like 14 days, and now that we've got a place to live, we are gearing up for our Third Annual Harvest Feast!  I'm super psyched about continuing our tradition, despite the many challenges we face this year: Halloween is on a Monday, our house is full of unpacked boxes, and did I mention Halloween is in 14 days?!  There's a lot to do in a short period of time, and now that we're in the East Bay I'm not sure if our Marin family will be able to make the trek over to our new house, especially on a Monday.  However, I don't want to move the date of the party to another day because I'm determined to celebrate this holiday ON Halloween, not before or after it.  There will be other Harvest Feasts, so if some people can't make it this year, I'll try not to cry (but I can't make any promises).

3. Our oven may or may not be out of commission at the moment, so we're limited when it comes to making a big meal for Halloween.  To compensate, our Feast is going to be more of a potluck than it has been for the last two years.  Don't get me wrong, every year people bring food, and every year we have more than enough to go around, but we usually make the main dish and about 4 or more side dishes ourselves.  This year we'll be having to scale down the amount of dishes we make.  I've had to really think about what we're going to make, and this is what I've come up with:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Magic Apples?

First off, I'd like to give a shout out to all my readers in Russia and Belgium (Holla!).  I don't know why you're reading my blog (or how you even found it) but KEEP READING! Because it makes me feel special.

Honestly, I think the reason for my international readership is the fact that in the northern hemisphere Samhain is fast approaching; I'm gonna take an educated guess and assume that Google searches for Samhain and Halloween are increasing as we close in on the holiday, no matter what you call it or how you celebrate it.  So, perhaps the hits I'm getting lately are simply a result of a search engine popping me up higher on their search results page.  I don't care, I still think it's cool!

Now, in the spirit of October and Halloween, pretty much all of my posts are gonna be about some aspect of the holiday, and today I've chosen divination (cue the oohs and ahhs here).  Divination has been a part of Halloween for centuries, although the intent and context have both changed throughout history.  I decided to pick out a few divination activities that seem particularly popular (or used to be) as far as American Halloween celebrations.

Let's start with Apple Divination!

Apples have always been popular tools for foretelling the future. Most Halloween divination revolved around match-making and one's "True Love". For many of us, finding out our true love via a peeled apple seems ludicrous, but if nothing else you can try some of these divination techniques for a good laugh on All Hallows Eve. There are a number of traditional methods in folklore for seeing who one's lover might be:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Post Midterm Brain Melt/ OMG, HALLOWEEN!!!

Okay, so I just got out of my Anthro class and I had a one page midterm that just kicked. my. ass.  Okay, so maybe it didn't kick my ass, but it was pretty mind-blowing for something so short. My brain is officially dead.... I'm not even sure how I'm typing this right now, because my brain is definitely malfunctioning, but I decided to do a blog post to blow off some steam.  And hey, I'm posting more regularly, so get excited about that!

Other than brain melting, life has been good!  I've actually been going out more, trying not to stay inside studying all the time.  For the past three weeks or so I've been going out to (cheap) dinner with my friend Angela, who just recently moved down here for school.  This has been a particularly joyous occasion for me because we have spent the last few years only texting or calling each other on occasion to keep in touch, and now that we live in the same town again we can go out and reconnect and do all the goofy stuff we did in high school (only now we're adults, and she has a car, so we have even MORE opportunities to do goofy stuff).  It's been great being able to hang out with friends after spending so much time feeling like a loner out here in the bay area.

One of the things that is awesome about Angela is that she is a great listener, and she genuinely wants to hear what you have to say, so our dinners have been long hours of conversation about every aspect of our lives: relationships, religion, school, faith, our futures, etc.  One of the things that we talked about a few weeks ago was our different religious beliefs. We are totally different when it comes to religion and spirituality-- she is a practicing Catholic, and I'm a practicing, experimental baby pagan.  If we were two different people, this would be a hindrance to our friendship. However, I think that in this instance our differences have made us better friends because we've forced ourselves to be open-minded to each others' ideas and beliefs, even if we don't agree with them or abide by them, and this mutual acceptance of our differences has provided a safe space to really delve into the complexities of our lives.  It allows us to talk!  I don't feel the need to censor myself because I know we can have honest communication.  So when we began talking about religion, I got pretty into it. Anyway, she asked about pagan holidays and different gods and goddesses, and as I was explaining the Sabbats and what they represent I suddenly realized I don't have a whole lot of knowledge about different pantheons, and even when it comes to the Sabbats dedicated to specific deities I lack the in-depth knowledge in those deities.  Why is that? (I thought to myself). And then we talked about patron gods/goddesses and patron saints, and I realized I didn't have a patron goddess either.

I felt a little inadequate.  I mean, there's no requirement to worship a specific pantheon or to have a patron goddess or god or spirit or whatever, and a lot of people I know worship a kind of all-encompassing deity (or deities if they are polytheists) as opposed to specific named deities (examples being gods like Apollo or Cernunnos, and goddesses like Brighid or Ishtar or Kali).  So it's not necessary for me to just pick a pantheon, especially if I'm not sure if I'm even polytheistic or not.  However, I do have a wish to explore different mythologies and lore, and to learn about different deities, and if that results in finding a patron goddess (or god, but that's a little far fetched in my case) then so be it.  I'm very hesitant to go out specifically searching for a partron goddess, or a specific pantheon to worship, pretty much because a lot of these pantheons come from cultures to which I don't belong.  I make no claims (at least ethnically or genealogically) to the Egyptian mythos, or to the Celtic or Norse or Native American mythoi.  And so just picking one would make me feel like am involving myself in a culture I have no business involving myself in. I'm not sure if that's entirely fair, 1) religions are not and should not be exclusive to race or ancestry and 2) because I'm most likely a mix of all different kinds of races that ally themselves with different religions and spiritualities, and as a result I should be able to make claims to multiple pantheons (but I don't know that, I can only guess).

Anyway, as a result of this conversation and the inner-workings of my mind, I've begun to peruse amazon and various book stores in search for some books on mythology, with no particular god or goddess in mind. And if it's possible, I feel even more lost than before (sad day). but as I continue my spiritual journey and research, I'll try to keep and optimistic mindset, especially in this blessed month of October (WAHOO!!!!). Anyway, if any of you actually care about what results in this research, I will keep you all posted.

Wow, I've already spent all my free time on this post. I'm off to my next class to learn things and make sure my college money goes to good use.