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Céad Míle Fáilte!

One hundred thousand welcomes to Compass Rose Horizons, my home on the Internet. I am a full-time professional writer and editor and have published over forty titles on food, folklore, and traditional customs. I earned my B.A. in English with an emphasis in both folklore and medieval literature from the University of Iowa and worked as an editor at several publishing houses before embarking on a career as a freelance author and editor. While I enjoy studying folk and religious beliefs from around the world, I am particularly interested in the pagan lore, legends, and magic traditions of the Scandinavian countries—Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland—and the Celtic nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. I am also the editor of Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads. Located in the historic Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, C.R.C.C. is a not-for-profit publishing company with specialties in history, mythology, cooking, and the preservation of folk traditions. A partial list of my published work can be found on my resume page.

My hobbies include adventure travel, collecting and restoring antique radios and phonographs, gardening, making homemade cordials, and growing culinary mushrooms.

Celtic Folklore Cooking

Edited by Joanne Asala

A Wiccan Cookbook for Celebrating the Pagan Wheel of the Year

Celtic Folklore Cooking Cover

The ancient Celts celebrated their Sabbats with music, dance, games, food, and drink. Whether you are a solitary practitioner or a part of a larger group, food and drink should always be a part of your festivities, rituals, and ceremonies. This book provides you with a wide variety of recipes that will make you the talk of the town!

The best traditional cooks in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall center their menus around the same simple foods that have fed the Celtic people for generations: fresh meats and fish, nutty grains, wild fruits, rich dairy cream and butter, and home-grown vegetables. And, through the generations, this delicious fare has inspired a rich crop of proverbs, legends, and songs. Now you can feast upon this delectable folklore and the food it honors with Celtic Folklore Cooking.

Charming as a whitewashed cottage and cozy as tea and scones by the fire, Celtic Folklore Cooking will draw you into the culture, folkways, and character of the Celts, who have traditionally lived close to the land and the changing of the seasons. These pages blend food folklore, recipes, and associated Pagan and Christian holidays so anyone can celebrate feast days, Sabbats, rituals, or just plain good eating in traditional Celtic fashion. Pick from more than 200 tasty traditional dishes. Each recipe lists ancient and modern holidays associated with the dish so you can select the perfect fare to complement the season. Whether you need an idea for a delicious beverage to serve at Beltaine, a special bread for Halloween, or a warm, filling meal for a cold midwinter’s night, you can relish the same tasty foods the Celts have enjoyed for generations. Slainte!

A Special Recipe for Celebrating Beltane—Homemade Herbal Butter

Not all people are gifted at buttermaking, and they sometimes resort to spellcraft to produce butter in a churn. The most productive method, and the most horrifying, was to stir the milk round with the dead hand of a hanged criminal. (Of course, I do not advocate this method!)

Making butter by means of an ordinary rotary churn turned by hand was always a somewhat uncertain task, often made doubly difficult when the butter refused to come. If a churn was made of rowan wood, you could stand a better chance of nullifying an evil witch’s power. A silver coin thrown into the cream or three white hairs from a black cat would also take away a witch’s curse.

Before the establishment of local creameries, every farmhouse had its own churn to make butter. Butter was an important commodity, and as such there were many superstitions about buttermaking. Evil spirits or a spiteful neighbor could jinx the entire project. A good buttermaker, therefore, knew a whole stock of prayers, charms, and incantations to say during the churning.

Butter was probably first enhanced with herbs in the early Middle Ages, when it was wrapped in sorrel leaves and stored in clay pots filled with saltwater. The sorrel was used to keep the butter fresh and sweet, but it no doubt lent its lemony taste to the butter in the process.

Herbal Butter

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4—6 tablespoons chopped, fresh herbs, flowers, seeds or
  • 4—6 teaspoons dried herbs
  • Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Chop the herbs and flowers very fine or pulverize the seeds and blend them into the butter. Spoon onto a sheet of waxed paper and roll it up so that the butter is about half an inch in diameter. Refrigerate until ready and cut into slices.

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