|Irish Rarebit with salad and tomatoes|
By now pretty much every Pagan-centric blog on the Web has published it's own version of the history of this Sabbat and it's meaning, citing their favorite ritual expressions. The majority of them are creative and on target. I don't feel the need to rehash a history lesson about Brigid and her attributes, or gamely announce that Spring is on it's way, but I do have a few suggestions for merry-making after the fact.
So this is not a post about Imbolc rituals; it's a post about what you might like to do after ritual.
Eating is one of the very best ways to ground yourself after ritual because the very act of physically nourishing yourself shifts the vibration, re-focusing your attention to another activity.
Since Imbolc has a keen association with livestock giving birth-herd animals such as sheep, goats and cattle in particular-why not make the choice of after-ritual refreshments reflect that association? An offering of assorted cheeses made from the milk of various animals would be a most welcome form of protein for hungry ritual participants. And here's a plus:cheese can cause pleasurable feelings in the human brain, a scientifically founded statement based on the fact that chemical components in cheese releases neurotransmitters-chemicals like Dopamine,Serotonin, and Tryptophan. There are also many choices of delicious herbed cheeses available on the market. Serve with a variety of whole grain crackers or breads, or go to a little extra trouble and make brischetta ( grilled or baked slices of Italian or French bread) and top with cheese, or crustini to dip in a hot cheese sauce.
Have you ever made real Irish Rarebit (aka as "rabbit")? It's often served as a light course at High Tea throughout the British Isles and is relatively easy to make:
2 cups of shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons of lightly salted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
4 slices of heavy bread such as whole wheat or soda bread
Put the cheese,butter and milk into a sauce pan and stir gently until creamy and smooth. At this stage, add the vinegar and mustard (or 1 tsp of prepared mustard) and blend. Meanwhile, lightly toast the bread on one side only in a broiler, and when this is done, pour the sauce over the untoasted side of the slices of bread and broil until bubbly and golden. Serve immediately while hot. The addition of a little chopped pickle on each slice makes it very nice.
Of course you could serve a salad made of tender shoots and greens, and sprinkle a bit of grated cheese on. Spinach, chard,curly endive, and arugula are delicious.
Is there anything more satisfying than a steaming bowl of soup? Creamy potato soup is delightfully rich and gratifying. Add leeks, shredded cheddar, or bacon. And don't forget about garlic, which mellows and imparts a lovely taste when it's cooked. All of these suggestions are keeping with the Celtic theme of Imbolc.
If for some reason you aren't into cheese, you might find herbed butter better to your liking. Making your own takes a little effort, but it is an inexpensive alternative. Serve herbed butters with a variety of crackers or morsels of bread.
I think sharing a little food and drink after ritual enhances the experience of those who have made the magick and makes magick of another kind. Is there anything more magickal than the combination of friends and food?