Unlocking Traditions: Imbolc

“I’m not going to live by their rules anymore.”

Tonight was our first Imbolc celebration. We simmered cinnamon all day while I cooked my very first ham.

We finally hung our moon phase tapestry.

This past weekend, we did a complete overhaul of Brau’s room. He’d become a little bit of a packrat (and dropped more than a few candy wrappers into unseen corners). It was great to go through the process. The weekend before we’d rearranged our living room. We’re trying to leave the things that don’t serve us behind, without panic-tossing things we’ll miss in a few months.

We don’t get rid of books anymore.

I planned my spring garden – a journey you’ll surely get to come along on. I’ve got my basil and cherry tomatoes at the top of the list. And I’m planning a really full, but useful herb garden.

After dinner and Dev’s bedtime, we watched Groundhog’s Day and listened to Brau giggle.

It was a nice day. I’m finding that celebrating The Wheel of The Year isn’t about making each and every festival or feast as extraordinary as the Christian counterparts have become in the watchful eye of capitalism. It’s more about focus, thought, honor, and slowing down to notice what lays before us and say goodbye to what lies behind us.

At dinner, we lit red candles and I said the following:

“Shine your light. Speak your truth. Feel the quickening. Kindle joy. Celebrate & welcome sunshine. Embody your True Divine Self.”

We promised to shed at least one negative belief we held about ourselves and leave it in this winter of solitude. We promised to meet each day in solidarity with one another and our individual and collective goals.

Then we chowed down and snuggled up and ate crepes. We dreamed of the days ahead when we might step on our ancestral soil where these celebrations began.

I think we can call our first Imbolc a win.

The Feast

  • Brown Sugar & Mustard Glazed Ham (A variation on O Captain, My Captain, Alton Brown’s City Ham)
  • Reilly Family Bread with some Irish Butter (This time I fancy braided the dough and did a quick egg wash over the top)
  • Colcannon – a traditional Irish version of mashed potatoes & cabbage. I based mine on Darina Allen’s version
  • Roasted Carrots (Peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths, tossed in olive oil, thyme, salt, & pepper – roasted at 400F for about 30 minutes or until tender, but not mushy and browned here and there)
  • And to finish it off, Crepes with clotted cream and strawberry jam (A manifestation of the coming spring – or a delusion that someday we’ll be out of this wintery pandemic mess)

Radcliff’s Imbolc Crepes

1 cup plain flour (I used Wondra because of its fine texture), 1 1/2 C whole milk, 2 eggs, 2 T melted butter, a pinch of salt.

Put 1 C plain flour (I used Wondra because of its fine texture) in a mixing bowl. Create a well in the middle of the flour hill. Crack your eggs, pour your melted butter, and a bit of your milk into the well. Either with your hand or very softly by spatula, begin to incorporate the dough. Add the rest of your milk slowly, while continues to mix. Mix the dough well to remove any lumps, but don’t overmix or whisk – you’re not trying to incorporate air. Give it a chance to sit. I whipped this up before we sat down to eat and then made the crepes fresh after dinner.

Grease a crepe pan, or if you don’t buy single-use kitchen equipment because your kitchen is the size of a gerbil cage, a non-stick frying pan will do. Have it sitting around medium to medium-high heat based on how your stove is. You can test the pan by flicking some water droplets on it. If the water dances, you’re in the green zone. If it just sits there, it’s not hot enough. If it vanishes, it’s too hot. Keep in mind, you may need to adjust the burner temperature and/or give your pan a moment to rest off heat, to maintain the right temperature.

Pour your batter while rolling your pan – the way you might when making an omelet. You want the batter to quickly reach all sides of the pan and for the crepe to be thin. You may need to test out how much batter you’ll need for your pan a few times.

Cooking takes anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds per side. You want the crepe to “look like the face of the moon” (my favorite description I found) before flipping it.

We served ours with clotted cream and strawberry jam. You can serve yours with anything you want. Nutella. Bananas & Caramel. Butter & Powdered Sugar, Maple Syrup, Applesauce – live your truth.

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