Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'll to thee a simnel bring!

"But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." So wrote St. Paul in his letter to Galatians, and so have and will Anglo-Catholics, hear read in church on this the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Now Anglo-Catholic sounds like a loaded phrase, and it may even sound like an impossibility. It has ancient roots and a misunderstood history, which I won't go into in this post! ;) I will just say we are very conservative catholics with an English "flavor." And that brings me to today: Mothering Sunday. A tradition arose in England for parishioners of daughter churches to visit the mother church. Eventually it became a holiday for servants to go and visit their mothers. And eventually it was replaced by Mothers' Day here in the USA.

According to tradition, the servants would bring their mother a simnel cake and the mother in return would give a blessing.

"I'll to thee a simnell bring,

Gainst thou goest a-mothering;

So that, when she blesseth thee,

Half that blessing thou'lt give me."

-Robert Herrick

There are various recipes all over the 'net, but they always include almond paste either in the middle of the cake or on top or both. Some people say the simnel cake has become the easter cake. The recipe I have been using calls for butter, sugar, almond paste, flour, salt, orange and lemon peel, currants and eggs. I do wonder how the servants came by all those fancy ingredients!

I will take a picture of the cake at church this morning. I have already tasted it. It is very rich! The ladies of the church will also be given carnations this morning. It is really nice to celebrate the forerunner of Mothers' Day without all the commercial pressure!

I hope you enjoyed the history lesson! Happy Mothering Sunday!


1 comment:

Deborah/LavenderRose said...

Thanks for sharing this story, Michele. I love knowing all of it. Hugs, Deb