Saturday, January 5, 2013

Spiced Cakes

In addition to the Fae Honeyed Mead, the villagers have another traditional food, baked, it seems, for all festivals.  While the women have been tending their hearths with baking, what I thought to be simply festive spiced rolls are not.

Throughout the year, as they visit the Sleepers' Meadow, mourners gather flowers not only to bring color into their homes and remember the Sleepers, but also for cooking. Particularly, roses are gathered and dried for use in the winter, and used fresh in the summer and autumn months.

The roses are bunched with twine and hung inverted to dry, then they are crushed to flakes. These are then used in baking the spiced rolls. It is common practice to sing while tying, sing while crushing, and sing while baking, though it is not anathema to speak during the process. May explained that in this way the Sleepers are always with them, a part of them, in a way they can feel. It reminds me somewhat of the Eucharist, if the Eucharist were delightful even to the epicure.

May has shared with me the recipe for these rolls.

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The Spiced Cakes of the Sleepers' Meadow

Warm one-half cupful of butter in a pint of milk; add a teaspoonful of salt, a tablespoonful of sugar, and seven cupfuls of  sifted flour; beat thoroughly until the mixture is blood warm, add four beaten eggs and then, last of all, half a cup of good lively yeast. Beat hard until the batter breaks in blisters. Set it to rise over night. With the sunrise, dissolve half a teaspoonful of soda, stir it sunwise into the batter and turn it into a well-buttered, shallow dish to rise again about fifteen or twenty minutes. Tear egg-sized balls of dough apart and press flat on floured board. Coat top side of each circle of dough with butter. Separately, mix two tablespoonsfuls crushed roses, a tablespoonful ground cinnamon, half that much ground nutmeg and lavender, and a pinch of ground clove with two tablespoonfuls of dried dandelion and two tablespoonfuls of sugar, save when the roses are in bloom, when the roses must be omitted from this mixture. Each dough flat should be pressed, butter side down, in the spices. Then they are rolled. In spring and autumn, three fresh rose petals should be laid across the dough before rolling.  Bake about fifteen to twenty minutes in the buttered dish. Bake a light brown in a quick oven.

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I admit, that in all the preparations and with the Longest Night itself, I am in no state to elaborate, but rather, must say that it is well time we left this place. May has entrusted to me the diary of Geraldine, Mayor Green's second wife. Tomorrow May intends to walk with me to find Everett's mother, with regard to the expected child. It isn't every day one is invited on a journey to meet with the Old Ones. In the few short days before we depart for home, I hope to glean as much as I can from the history of Geraldine and further observance.

It is possible these pages will reach you after I do. In any case, I shall, as always, distill these interactions further for my reports. 

From the edge of Faerie,

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