Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bringing the Bread and Honey - Thanksgiving 2012

I don't cook Thanksgiving Dinner, at least on the day of Thanksgiving. My husband Charlie and I visit our relatives. I am bringing a couple of things and these are the things of life. Honey from my garden beehives and Bread baked with love by me. It seems to me that this is the stuff of life, the very essence of what it means to be alive, Bread and Honey. I am thankful for both of these things and it makes me happy to make and bring them. In a sense, it says it all for me. 

Loaves of Anadama Bread recipe:

Melissa's Delicious and Easy French Bread:

Bread is a staple of life and one of mankind's most basic of foods. It is thought that in prehistoric times, basic starches like ferns, cattails, and roots were pounded with rocks and laid on flat rocks over a fire to make a kind of flat bread. Later this was expanded to include grains and naturally occuring yeasts used in leavening of the bread.  Parts of the ancient world made a paste of wine and flour or bran, which was set in a warm place and allowed to ferment, thus making the first yeasts. I actually use both honey and wine in my french bread to commemorate this. It instills a specific flavor and taste but also connects us to a very specific and ancient but wonderful taste.
In fact in the bible we have a very early reference to bread in the Lord's prayer: "Give us this day our daily bread". bread symbolizing the very fuel that sustains and powers the physical body but also the spiritual body! Bread also symbolizes our basic needs, necesssities, and living conditions coined by the term "bread winner" given to the household's main economic contributor.
The World of Melissa's Honey Bees:

Bringing Honey symbolizes the bounty and basic sweetness of this earth and the Thankfulness we express is so sweet. Bees also symbolize eloquence , speech, and intelligence . In Hebrew, the word for bee, Dbure, has its origins in the word Dbr, speech. They settled on the mouth of the child, Plato, " announcing the sweetness of his enchanting soul " is a quote attributed to Pliny and  Saint Ambrose, the patron-saint of beekeepers. According to Virgil, Bees have a grain of divine intelligence and the famous Pythia, the priestess of Apollo, was called "the Bee of Delphi". In some texts from India, the Bee represents the spirit becoming intoxicated with the pollen of knowledge.  
Because of its honey and its sting, the bee is considered to be an emblem of Christ : it represents his mildness and mercy on one side and his justice on the other. 

All the great prophets of history refer to honey in the Scriptures. Speech is honey, it represents softness, justice, virtue and divine goodness. The Koran uses holy terms to talk of bees and honey :"Honey is the first blessing that God gave the earth". Virgil calls honey the celestial gift of the dew, dew itself being a symbol of initiation. Honey even designates supreme bliss and the state of Nirvana. Symbol of all sweetness, the honey of knowledge creates the happiness of mankind. 
Honey, the perfect food, symbolizing the very essence of life itself  and the giving of Thanks for it.
This reminds us to be Thankful for our relationships and family. I think Bread and Honey say this, don't they? 

Having said this, I will admit that for us, this year seems a little poignant because we'll be visiting his Mom in our thoughts only this year.  This is the first year she hasn't been with us, at least physically,  I am remembering her with fondness this morning. She always made creamed onions and lots of pies on this day. Charlie and I would go to her house and pick her up with all her boxes of beautifully prepared foods for the drive to her daughters house for the mid day dinner and visit. Anyway, a shout out to Priscilla, we miss you!

My Mother-in Law Priscilla Abbott last Christmas

Instead I cook Thanksgiving Dinner on the weekend afterwards, which seems like it makes more sense anyway. I get to distribute my Bread and Honey Thanks on my Thursday visitations.

 I really wish I did get to cook Thanksgiving Dinner at my house and maybe someday I will, but for now, we visit and try to fit into other households and play the role of guest and bringer of Bread and Honey. It isn't bad being a guest, don't get me wrong. I don't have the stress and pressure of cooking a dinner for several people and making sure the house is decorated and clean. In a way, my bread and honey symbolize my industriousness all year long. I am a lot like the Bee, organized and supremely busy. In fact my name Melissa means Honey Bee.
On the weekend, I get to relax and just make dinner and pretend it is the leftovers from Thanksgiving all weekend. Lots of Turkey Sandwiches and Soup get made. There is something in turkey which makes you sleep better. It is a restful weekend, quiet and introspective as winter descends on us here in New England. Although I still have herbs and broccoli in my garden and I just finished digging up the last of my potatoes (which were amazing by the way). I had planted some Idahos that were sprouting in the kitchen and I couldn't believe the size of the potatoes we grew in our raised beds on rocky Cape Ann.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family and know that I love you and I am bringing you symbolized Bread and Honey in the form of this blog post.

Love and Blessings,