Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Michaelmas Celebration

Delicious St. Michael’s Bannock for breakfast. We served ours with raspberry jam. Technically, it’s supposed to be made with currants, but the bulk section at our store was out, so I used sultanas. It was delicious, so tender and buttery—but it only uses 2T of butter!

St. Michael's Bannock 09 006St. Michael's Bannock 09 012

We prayed Lauds this morning as a family before Brian went to work. I love how the liturgy of the hours is so holistic. Since it was Michaelmas (in the traditional calendar) and the feast of the Archangels, Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (in the modern calendar), the liturgy focused on angels in its readings, psalms, and canticles. Does anyone know a good hymn for angels? I would love to add a song to our reading of Lauds on this day next year, but I couldn’t think of one this morning.

During the day, I attempted to teach Sophia the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Well, she’s gotten very adept at doing the Sign of the Cross, but that’s about as far as we got. Still, memorization or no, it was wonderful to be engaging spiritually with my little girl, beyond grace and bedtime prayers and Mass. She understands what angels are (at least to some degree) now, and she was very fascinated by the story of St. Michael. I’m already excited about what more she’ll be able to glean from the feastday next year!


Wouldn’t you know that with blackberry bushes running amok from Bellingham to Vancouver to Spokane, don’t I just live in the one neighborhood in Washington state where all the blackberries died last week while I was out of town? I’ve been scouring the neighborhood for the past three days, in vain. And of course, as I said before, blackberries are so prolific in the area that no grocery store in our neighborhood even sells them—because no one would pay for what they can just grab on the side of the highway. So, purchasing fresh berries was out. At last, after managing to pick only a scant cup for all my searching, I broke down and bought some frozen blackberries from the grocery store to make this out-of-this-world blackberry slump. It was invented by chef Geraldine Ferraro at the Four Swallows Restaurant on Bainbridge Island, right here in the Puget Sound, so it’s local! I got a kick out of that.

I didn’t take a picture of my version because, well, it’s not much to look at. It is a slump, after all. But, let me tell you, it was fantastic! The secret is a cup of white wine in the cake batter. And, since it’s a holiday, I had that on hand. I tell you what, though, next year, I’m nabbing some blackberries from the bush when I see them, and I’ll freeze them for Michaelmas!

Prior to the slump, we had roast chicken basted with a honey-lemon glaze with roasted garnet yams and Golden Delicious apples, a side of broccoli, and homemade bread and butter. Not exactly roast goose and apples, but it’s close, besides being a much better fit for my American family. Have you tried tracking down a goose in the States? I love Maria Augusta Trapp’s story of trying to find a goose for her family’s first Christmas in Philadelphia. She eventually found one for a pretty penny, and her American neighbors couldn’t understand why a poor immigrant family would go to such lengths just for a goose. Frankly, I’m with the neighbors, but vive la tradition!


After dinner, we snuggled up on the sofa and read Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. The story is certainly not meant for your average toddler. It’s quite long and definitely on what most people would call the scary side. But, what can I say? Sophia loves it! Just goes to show that our children are capable of a much higher literary caliber than we often give them credit for.

So, that’s how we spent Michaelmas in our home. How did you celebrate?


  1. My little boy who's three loves that book too. It's a funny choice for such a young child, but there's something very compeling about it.

  2. We read the same book and also made dragon shaped harvest bread. Sarah also decorated a paper cut out dragon with pom-poms as part of her morning art time. :o)

  3. Oh my goodness, I'm drooling! Party at your house :)

    I hope you will share the recipes for the chicken and the yams/apples with us. They sound wonderful!


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