09 October 2010

9 October - Saint Denis of Paris; Leif Ericson; Blabaerkake

Weather: A hard winter follows a fine Saint Denis.
It was a fine day here in the smallest state. "Hard winter, hard winter, come again no more..."

Feast of Saint Denis (Dionysius), bishop and martyr, and his companions, Father Rusticus and Deacon Eleutherius.

Sent to restore the Church in Gaul, which had suffered terribly under the persecutions of Decius, Dionysius and his friends arrived in the vicinity of modern Paris and settled on the Ile de la Cite.  His untiring efforts to re-establish and strengthen the Church, and the many conversions resulting from his preaching, aroused the enmity of the pagan priests.  The three men were arrested, tortured, and beheaded at a place now called Montmartre.

Popular depictions show him holding his head in his hands; occasionally he is shown walking with it, as he was said to have carried his head six miles to the place where the Basilica of Saint Denis was later built, preaching a sermon all the while.

As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, he is invoked against headaches, hydrophobia, and rabies.  He is also the patron of Paris (France) and of possessed and frenzied people [that makes sense].

You can read the Golden Legend account of his life here.
Today is also Leif Erikson Day in the United States.

There is no mention of the day in the early 11th century when Leif landed on the coast of Newfoundland (or possibly Massachusetts) and established a settlement in 'Vinland', which you can read about at the 'Saga of Eric the Red' here.    Rasmus B. Anderson, in his book "America Not Discovered by Columbus" (a partial view can be found on Google Books), thought that Vinland was to be found near Fall River in Massachusetts, mentioning both the "Skeleton in Armor" and the "Newport Tower" as part of his evidence.  Dighton Rock in the Taunton River is also supposed to be covered with Norse writing.

The Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland has also been proposed as the site of Vinland, while Norwegian researcher  Johannes Kr. Tomoe placed the site further east at Waquoit Bay in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Wherever it was, blueberries were available, so a nice dessert for the day would be BLABAERKAKE:

You will need 2 cups of fresh (or frozen and thawed, or canned and drained) blueberries
1-1/2 cups fine cracker meal
1/2 to 1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup  melted butter or margarine
Grease a 1 quart casserole and fill with half the blueberries.  Top with half of the cracker meal, half of the sugar, and half of the butter.  Repeat layering, ending with butter.  Bake in a preheated moderate oven (375 degrees) for 1 hour.  Serve warm, with whipped cream.