Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Preparing for Shrove Tuesday

Fat Tuesday, the other name for Shrove Tuesday, is more like it with all the sweets that are baked or fried for this occasion before the Lenten Season starts.  Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday is when you gorge yourself with everything and do everything that you need to be forgiven for during Lent.

Let's go to the most famous of the parties, Mardi Gras.  In New Orleans they start out by celebrating usually for the whole weekend before Ash Wednesday.  The streets are lined with party goers who display costumes and the traditional beads of purple, green and gold and eat King Cake.  The entire celebration is themed around these colors.

The biggest parade is on Shrove Tuesday which ends Mardi Gras literally.  As soon as the parade has ended, the police come out and usher everyone off the streets so that the public works department can clean up the multitude of trash that has been dumped on the streets.

In New Orleans they have a French cake doughnut that is called a Beignet.

Another tradition for Shrove Tuesday is the Polish custom of making and eating Paczki.  This is a donut without a hole and can be either filled with custard or fruit fillings and is similar to a jelly donut.  When I was married into a Polish family, they made their Paczki (pronounced:  poonch key) with one special pastry having a cherry in the middle of it.  Whoever got that pastry was considered the lucky one for that year.

Another tradition that I've recently learned is the Pennsylvania Dutch make a pastry called Fastnacht.  It is very similar to the Paczki in appearance.  This donut is fried and sprinkled with confectioners sugar.

The tradition that I never knew about was the tradition of eating pancakes on Fat Tuesday.  The fancier you make the pancake the better.  The more toppings you put on such as strawberries or cherries the better.  I think you need to top the whole stack off with whipped cream but that is just my interpretation of the pancake stack.

However, you choose to celebrate Shrove Tuesday, it is traditionally with sinful foods and partying.

Monday, February 13, 2017

To My Valentine

For so many years I took for granted the wonderful things that my valentine did for me.  Not that I wasn't just as attentive to him and didn't do things just for him that I knew he would like.  But, he was a true romantic and did things just because instead of when it was expected for those days like Valentine's Days.

After he retired, he started a part time job driving for a florist.  Not one holiday passed that I didn't get something special.  At Christmas, it was the latest Thomas Kincaid arrangement with such things as a glass Madonna or small nativity embedded among the flowers.

It didn't need to be a special day.  There were those ordinary days when nothing was going on and there was no birthday or anniversary.  He would come home and behind his back he would be carrying long stem roses, my favorite flower because I am devoted to St. Therese, the little flower.  Sometimes they were red for true love, sometimes they were yellow, but mostly they were a mixture of pinks, whites and reds that were perfect for any occasion.

He was a gem and one that I dearly loved for many reasons.  When we would go out for the evening to the Club, he would sit and listen to the music and sing the romantic songs to me with his gravely voice.  It didn't matter that he was off pitch because his eyes told the story that I was his true love.

I no longer have those wonderful events that he made out of ordinary days to look forward to.  What I have are my memories of the most wonderfully romantic man in the universe, my Bear.  He was the Bear part of bearnmom, which was the original logon we shared when we started enjoying the wild and wonderful world of the internet.  That is because we shared our happiness, our sadness, our everything with each other.  Happy Valentine's Day, Bear.  You still hold the best part of what is my romantic heart.