Today is not only Ash Wednesday, but it is also the Feast of St. Rose of Viterbo. St. Rose died on 6 March 1251. Today is her “dies natalis… birthday (into heaven)”. However, there is an amazing event in Viterbo in September in her honor. Since her relics were translated on 4 Sept 1258, down through the centuries Rose is honored with a procession the likes of which you will not see elsewhere. A “macchina” several stories tall is carried through the streets at night, on the 3 September while huge drums are beaten. HERE It is stunning.
Meanwhile, it is Ash Wednesday. On my calendar and in your traditional hand missal you can see that the Roman Station church today is Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. As I write, the Mass is going on. It isn’t as impressive as it was … a few years ago.
Last night I got together with a group of priests, some of whom belong a splendid group called the Society of Jesus the Priest, which has its foundation in Spain. They made incredible grilled steak and paella.
Today… I have prepared Vichyssoise from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. US HERE – UK HERE This will be my supper after returning from the evening Solemn Mass (TLM) for Ash Wednesday.
I asked the diocesan vocation director to be the celebrant. I’ve done it for years and he, a younger guy with fewer chances, can get some good experience. It’s a great blessing to have a diocese’s vocation director involved with our TMSM‘s mission.
Prep the veg
I used very little of the green of the leek this time… but I saved the greens.
Into broth to simmer and soften.
And because I mentioned “Dies Natalis”, above, here is the “Rapture” movement from Gerald Finzi’s cantata of the same name. This, the second movement, is a paen to life and to God, the joy of the new born child’s soul. And so some music while I cook.
The texts are by Thomas Traherne (+1674), an English Metaphysical poet and priest (CofE). The soloist is Philip Langridge, one of my favorite English tenors. He features in my favorite recording of The Messiah. It’s old, now, but excellent.
O heavenly fire! O sacred Light!
How fair and bright!
How great am I
Whom the whole world doth magnify!
O heavenly Joy!
O great and sacred blessedness
Which I possess!
So great a joy
Who did into my arms convey?
From God above
Being sent, the gift doth me enflame,
To praise His Name.
The stars do move,
The sun doth shine, to show His Love.
O how divine
Am I! To all this sacred wealth
This life and health,
Who rais’d? Who mine
Did make the same! What hand divine!
After that warmth and wonder, back to the prosaic potato and leek soup, which – like revenge – is traditionally served cold.
To obtain the right consistency, soften the veg by simmering it in your broth for a while. Then, if you are old fashioned, put it through the mill, adding broth.
Whisk together with heavy cream and season. Remember when seasoning that cold has a different effect on what you taste. Be careful. Check again when it is chilled.
Covered and ready for the fridge. Tonight, Vichyssoise. I’ll grind on fresh white pepper and add chopped chives.