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Culinary Discovery

Trick or Treat, Give Me Something Good To Eat

by Gabriella True

 

Halloween is not generally thought of as a food holiday aside from candy doled out to costumed children begging for a trick or treat. But Halloween is not just for children. History and symbols associated with this night of ghosts and goblins have now been transformed into a festival and an extremely popular and lucrative holiday. Pumpkin carving contests have become an opportunity for for children, parents and friends to gather. It's become an occasion for all those who young at heart to pull out pumpkin seeds, perfect for roasting and carve the goofiest or scariest face you can think of. If children are at the party but yet too young to carve the pumpkin have them draw the face with markers. Don't forget to tell scary ghost stories. And yes, costumes are required.

Halloween blends the traditions of the Celts, Romans, Catholics and Protestants. On October 31, the Celts celebrated the onset of winter by hosting a New Year's festival in honor of Samhain, the Lord of the Dead. It was the holiest day of the year, linking the living with the dead. Even though the souls could cause danger, they also supplied omens that could be read more clearly during the feast. The Samhain assembled all the souls in order to sentence the sinners to one year in the shape of an animal while the good souls could take the shape of a human. The Celts wanted to please Samhain on this night so he would allow the souls of their relatives to return home and get warm by the fire while keeping the evil spirits at bay who otherwise would destroy crops and kill animals. The Druids disguised themselves as animals by wearing animal skins and masks so the spirits would think that they were also a soul and leave them alone. They would wear the disguises while dancing around the bonfire and form a parade to lead the souls out of town.

Plan on having candy and other treats nearby for guests and children that come by. Trick or Treating began as a Celtic tradition and evolved into a Christian one. The Celts placed bowls of food in front of their doors to appease the spirits so they wouldn't enter homes and play tricks. In 9th Century Europe, early Christians paralleled this tradition by begging for soul cakes, square pieces of bread with currants, in return for praying for the donor's deceased relatives. It was thought that after death, one remained in limbo for a while; these prayers would accelerate the soul's passage to heaven. Eventually, this evolved into children going from house to house asking for treats.

On the first of November, the Romans held a feast in honor of Pomona, the Goddess of the orchards and harvest. The apple was dedicated to her as a symbol of fertility and love. By the First Century A.D., the Samhain and Pomona festivals had merged into one, celebrating the harvest and asking for protection from evil spirits. Today, celebrate the harvest goddess, Pomona,while having some old fashioned fun at your Halloween party by bobbing for apples. If you manage to bite in an apple that is floating in a tub of water it is thought that you will have good luck during the coming year.

Serve delicious Pomona Punch, caramel apples and other delicious treats found in the recipe section. For parties, it is fun to buy the smallest apples you can find, like crab apples, and dip them in the caramel so that they are not a sugary sweet and as typical as the dipped apples you normally see.

 

Page two, Trick or Treat>>

Page three, Recipes>>

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