Cooking Through the Christian Year


Ries, Ignacio de. “Saint Michael the Archangel.” 1640s. Oil on canvas. 64 3/4 x 43 1/4 in. (164.5 x 109.9 cm). Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889. Accession Number 89.15.17. New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ries was the son of a Flemish painter who had settled in Seville. During the mid-1630s, Ries worked for Zurbarán, whose paintings are exhibited in this gallery and to whom this artwork was formerly credited. However, it is now acknowledged as one of Ries’s best works, originating from the 1640s, and it demonstrates influence from both Flemish and Italian artistic traditions. The figure of Satan, with his mouth open and being “cast out [of heaven] into the earth” (Rev. 12:9), is reminiscent of Ribera’s style in particular.

Michaelmas – September 29th

Michaelmas is one of the more celebrated feast days of the Christian year. On this day, St. Michael is celebrated in particular, as well as the archangels as a group or all angels in general. What makes it culturally significant is that it is the liturgical marker for the autumnal equinox, beginning late fall. This is one of the eight days that marks the season. It also shaped the academic calendar, with many schools having a Michaelmas semester beginning today.

Michael is the chief archangel mentioned only a few times in the Bible. However, he is mighty. The Book of Revelation (12:7-8) says it was Michael who led the spiritual fight against the dragon/devil and won. Michael, therefore, is the patron saint of soldiers and police officers.

Most of the culinary traditions for this day are centered on the harvest. In Scotland and Ireland, a harvest bread called struan is made with multiple grains. Some traditions say that goose should be served, as on St. Martin’s day. Others eat berries; tradition says that this is the last day to collect blackberries, afterward they are cursed (or worse, the devil might have fallen from heaven on them and spit or urinated on them!).

We are having a lighter-than-air angel food cake with a blackberry sauce. While not traditional, it is a great way to celebrate the Feast of Angels with a feast fit for angels!

Recipe Coming Soon