Thanksgiving is a concept we should celebrate all year. Giving thanks for those we love, the food on our table, the roof over our heads, and the wonderful people who helped us get to where we are … should be performed everyday. Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, a cultural one really, where we celebrate difference and sharing. The following recipes are meant to be shared and enjoyed. Many of these offerings are for the ancestors, traditional recipes that we may still enjoy today.
Sweet Potatoes feature prominently on the Thanksgiving and Yule menus of Pagans and Non-Pagans alike. Many are accustomed to the sugary sweet, marshmallow topped traditions from our past. This recipe is much lighter and simpler, introducing a refreshing alternative to the classic menu.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lime
4 large sweet potatoes
4 ½ Tbs. butter
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub sweet potatoes with butter and wrap in foil. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the potatoes are soft and tender. Remove from oven. Slit potatoes lengthwise, add one tablespoon of butter and ½ teaspoon lime juice to each cooked potato. Mash together, and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.
The Yam, sweet potato’s African cousin has been celebrated for hundred of years in the African countries of Ghana and Nigeria. They are the center of an entire festival focusing on ancestors, strength, and harvest. The following recipe is designed to honor the ancestors too, and would be wonderful as a new Thanksgiving or Holiday Brunch treat. Ancestor Hash Brown with Sweet Potatoes
Corn is also a Thanksgiving staple. For many of the indigenous American people it was a primary part of their diet. Corn is believed to be magickally ruled by the moon, and is said to bless people with fertility, bounty and luck. Maque Choux is a Southern Louisiana corn delicacy. For a new take on an old favorite check out this ancestor recipe for Corn Maque Choux.
Surprisingly, there are very few pagan thanksgiving recipes on the internet. Considering how many kitchen witches there are out there, I hope that changes in the near future. I did find a collection by Jill Stefko that includes this great recipe for apple chips:
“Cut 2 apples crosswise into 1/8 slices. Put slices in single layers on aluminum foil coated with cooking spray or margarine in rimmed baking sheets. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ginger, blending thoroughly. Sprinkle evenly over apple slices. Bake at 200° in oven’s top and next-to-top racks until for about 2 hours or until apples are crisp and dry. Cool completely before storing in sealed containers. Keeps for 3 days.”
Then there is The Urban Pagan Homestead blog here at Patheos Pagan which recently featured a delicious Blackberry Soda recipe that would be a delightful addition to any Thanksgiving or Feast menu. In my tradition berries are always used to celebrate the ancestors. They are said to impart joy, bounty and wisdom.
I have given you sides, starters and drinks, and now we come to desert. When I was young I used to dream of eating a meal backwards, the desert would come first…a wonderful fantasy. Nowadays I like to think of the end of a meal as the start of my new and improved journey. The food that has just been eaten creates and new source of energy and moves me closer to where I need to be. The following recipe for Marie Laveau makes the perfect end to any meal .
For those who are unfamiliar with her, Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is an American legend. She was the first person to hold open public ritual in the United States, and her ceremonies were attended by people of all races and social classes. Marie Laveau Bourbon Bread Pudding is a simple and elegant recipe that I’m sure you will enjoy. For more great ancestor and heritage recipes please see my African-American Ritual Cookbook, designed to please your body and your soul !
Everyone has their own favorite Thanksgiving or Ritual recipe, I would love to hear yours please put them in the comments below. In the spirit of peace and togetherness please share these recipes too, just click those lovely share buttons… and wait for the magick to happen. Many Thanksgiving blessings to you, your families and your tribes !