Feasting With Saints, From Blog to Life to Region – The Feast of St. Luke, Oct 18

This was featured in the September Northeast Region Newsletter in the Episcopal Church in CT – enjoy!

I first started living the liturgical calendar when I was chair of Altar Guild at my home parish of St. Stephens in Ridgefield. Before then I knew what season we were in, of course. The blues and pinks of Advent, the purple starkness of Lent, and the never-ending green of Pentecost were familiar to me. But as Altar Guild chair, I had to anticipate what was coming to be sure we had all we needed. I carried two calendars in my head – the secular one of my work and home, and the liturgical one of my faith. I became fascinated with this calendar – not just Sundays when I needed to set up for Eucharist, but all those in between days of the week too.
As a New Year’s Resolution in 2017, I decided to *eat* liturgically. Our Book of Common Prayer lays out Feast Days and Fast Days. Every Sunday is a Feast Day (so go ahead and enjoy coffee hour!), and every Friday is a Fast Day. There are also Feast Days celebrated throughout the calendar – Holy Days and Saints days of Apostles and Evangelists. They are “red letter” days on your Episcopal Calendar.
I need to eat every day. It’s how God made me. So, when I plan my meals for a day, I do so mindfully around our Episcopal liturgical calendar. Each morning I can reorient my day, my self, to God. This is one way I embrace “Turn” in the Way of Love – by Eating Liturgically, I turn myself towards the liturgical calendar rather than the secular one.
One of the keys to making this eating experiment meaningful, I’ve found, is taking care not to feast on non-Feast Days. By saving my treats for Sunday, I enjoy the treats and the day more. It feels like rejoicing instead of just…eating.
And when a Saint’s Day appears in the week, it feels a bit like waking up to a snow day on a day you have a project due in school you’re not quite prepared for. Whoo-hoo! By keeping Feast Days unique and special, when they arrive it is a wonderful feeling.
The feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist falls on Oct 18th every year. Unless it’s on a Sunday, then it’s celebrated on Monday Oct 19th…but that’s not in the cards this year. This year, it’s on a Friday, which you will recall is usually a Fast Day. Now that I’m many years into this discipline, I am delighted each year at how the same calendar feels new depending on what it bumps up against in the secular calendar. This year, we don’t fast, we feast! Last year, it was a Thursday, and we remembered it fondly as we fasted the next day. Next year, it will be bumped from Sunday to Monday the 19th, and we will think of how Christ and the celebration of His Resurrection on Sundays is the most important focus of who we are in our calendar.
The tradition of eating special or specific foods on Saints Feast Days is old. It’s older than our Anglican church. I’ve found recipes and songs mentioning saint’s day foods going back to the middle ages. I’m sure this kind of tradition is older than Christianity. We humans love to eat, and to remember important things using food.
Saint Luke is the patron saint of, among other things, butchers. In artwork he’s often symbolized by a winged ox or calf. For my household, dinner on the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist means Crock Roast. My husband travels for work and is usually gone over this week, so my solo-parenting self appreciates using the crock pot. It’s autumn and getting chilly, and a warm, savory, roast is just the thing. It is ironic that while I enjoy talking about food and planning food, I’m not a great cooker of food. Here’s my go-to, easy-enough-for-someone-like-me-who-doesn’t-like-to-cook-but-still-wants-delicious-roast recipe from dinnerthendessert.com:
·      4-5 pound chuck roast
·      2 tablespoons canola oil
·      2 teaspoons Kosher salt
·      1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
·      1 teaspoon dried thyme
·      1 pound carrots peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
·      2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
·      2 cloves garlic minced
·      2 cups beef broth
·      2 tablespoons corn starch
·      2 tablespoons cold water
·      minced parsley optional, to garnish
1.      Season the chuck roast with the Kosher salt, pepper and thyme (if you are sensitive to sodium, adjust to your taste or you can even leave the salt out altogether since you’re adding broth).
2.      Heat your pan (or if you can brown in your slow cooker, do it in that insert to medium high.
3.      Add the canola oil and when it ripples and is hot add in the roast and brown, deeply, for 4-5 minutes on each side.
4.      In your slow cooker add the carrots, potatoes and garlic.
5.      Lay the beef on top, then add the beef broth and cover, cooking on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
6.      In the last hour mix your cornstarch and water and add it to the slow cooker to thicken the sauce or you can take the food out when done cooking, and add the leftover liquid to a small saucepan with the cornstarch/water mixture and cook on high for just 2-3 minutes until the liquid is thickened into a gravy.
7.      Pour the gravy over the meat and garnish with parsley if desired.
St. Luke is also the patron saint of stained-glass workers, so I’m considering adding stained glass cookies to the meal plan for dessert. We’ll see what my busy October allows (if not this year, I know I’ll have another chance next year). If you have a good stained glass cookie recipe, do let me know!
I can be reached @eatingliturgically on Facebook and Instagram, and I blog about this mindful meal planning journey on www.eatingliturgically.com.
Blessings to you and yours for a wonderful Feast Day!

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