Io, Saturnalia!

Io, Saturnalia! (eeyo sa-tur-NAL-ee-uh) This is the traditional Roman greeting for the holiday. Try it out on your friends on this,  the first day of the Winter Solstice Celebration.

Tonight I'm gonna party like it's AD99.

One of the few smart and witty things JJ said to me was something like, “Santa has always been my favorite character in Christianity”.

The other day my son and I were meandering through the produce section and he said, “You know, Mom, Santa isn’t real. Is he…?”

That is the one question a parent never wants to hear. Forget about the difficulty factor of ‘how are babies made’ or ‘mom, can you buy me some condoms…?’ This was the mother of all hard questions. I had to think quick. “Do you want me to tell you a secret?” I asked him.

“Yes,” his little face lit up with the prospect of insider knowledge.

“You are right,” I whispered low, as if he needed top-secret/SCI spy clearance to be privy to that information.

He paused and stared at me in dis-belief. “Really?”

“What do you think?” I replied. There! I had done it! I didn’t lie and I didn’t crush all his hopes, beliefs or his tender young imagination. I had survived the Dreaded Question.

“Naw! I think you’re making that up! Of course, Santa is real.” Apparently he was testing the water and had decided against that psychological swim. But I have to question our Santa Culture. I mean, come on guys! Even seven year old’s know we’re making this shit up! They just don’t want to admit it and crush our tender little hearts. I think it’s time we got real and started bringing our kids up with less damaging mythological ideologies. We are easing our way out of the Santa cult and into something more realistic.

Here is some helpful information on what to eat for Saturnalia:

Caroenum : Very sweet cooking wine, reduced to one-third its volume by boiling, and mixed with honey. You can add honey to a sweet wine or grape juice. Defrutum : Thick fruit syrup, or a sort of Roman marmalade.
Garum : Fish Sauce. This was used to make foods salty in taste. You can substitute sauce from the Asian Supermarket. Nuoc Mam, Nam Pha. Liquamen : is “any kind of culinary liquid, depending upon the occasion”. It may be interpreted as brine or another word for light fish sauce. Use a pinch of salt in white wine if you have no fish sauce. Pepper : For ‘pepper’, use nutmeg or allspice. You don’t have to prepare and cook a Giraffe or a Flamingo to have an Ancient Roman meal, try something smaller ~ like a dormouse. But with chicken! Let’s face it, dormice are hard to come by these days. You can use chicken wings in any recipe which calls for quails, and replace dormice with chicken drumsticks.”

Just a word of warning here – do not follow up you Dormouse dinner with the classic holiday story of Santa Mouse (Ok, so I have to admit, this is one Santa story I would like to keep). Here’s something tasty and cruelty free instead: 

Crustum Omnimodus Defrutum

Follow the Crepe Recipe in the Sol Invictus post, or Google it for, goodness sake. You will also need:

  • 3/4 dry ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1/2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-2 Persimmon
  • Your choice of fruit preserves

To make the stuffing, mix the cheese, egg yolks, butter, salt, sugar and Cardamom. Place 2 tablespoons in the center of each crepe and roll. Crepes may be filled in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just before serving, bake in a 250 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Top with persimmon and your choice of fruit preserves or Chutney. Serve crepes warm, sprinkled with a bit of Cardamom and powdered sugar on the top.


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