The winter months are often dark, dreary, and a bit bleak. It rains. It snows, The sun spends most of the time covered by thick and ominous looking clouds. Add in the stress and expectations of the holiday season and you might find yourself with a case of the blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is no joke for some folks. If you’re prone to depression, this can be a tough time of year indeed.
Red & Green To Chase Away The BluesMat Auryn, Patheos Blogger and Author, posted “As witches, most of us are trained at the foundational stages to understand the Hermetic Principles. The Principle of Correspondence teaches us, “As above, so below; as within, so without.”
I believe we can apply the Principle of Correspondence to the way we prepare the foods we eat and, in doing so, help mitigate the effects of SAD. And it’s as simple as adding bright, festive, eye-catching ingredients to each meal.
It’s pretty common knowledge that eating foods of different colours, shapes, and textures is good for you. Red and green and orange and yellow and blue foods have all sorts of excellent vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants in them. But there’s another benefit too that most folks don’t know. Foods that are rich and varied in colour also stimulate our brain.
You see, we eat with our eyes long before we eat with our mouths. Our appetite and our curiosity are piqued when our meals are engaging to look at. Being curious and stimulated and excited to taste what’s on our plate, quite literally wakes up our senses, sending all sorts of helpful chemicals, signals, and hormones through our bodies. If you’ve got the blues, adding some red and green and yellow and purple foods to your meals can change your brain chemistry and your outlook.*
Here’s A Simple Recipe To Chase Away The Blues
I make this for two people and it’s a lot. One key here is to serve it in the biggest bowl you have. Not because there’s so much food, but because you can really see the colours. I originally found this recipe here a few years ago but I’ve adjusted it a bit.
This salad absolutely sparkles. The pomegranates are like jewels or ornaments you might see on a tree. It’s a real feast for your eyes and your taste buds. Feel free to add thin slices of red peppers or slices of orange if you like that sort of thing.
Enjoy your bright, exciting, salad. I hope it helps to chase those winter blues away.
*Depression is real. If you need help, reach out. If your depression gets to the level of suicidal tendencies, please do not hesitate reach out for help.
Saturnalia is coming! Hail Saturn! I’ll raise a glass of conditum paradoxum and exclaim “Salus!”, the Latin equivalent of “Here’s to your good health.” If you are fresh out of conditum paradoxum, you can make a bottle of this delicious, sweet wine for yourself. I’ll show you how. It’s pretty easy.
But before the wine, a little historySaturnalia grew to be one of the most popular festivals on the Roman calendar. Initially, it was a one day festival that started on December 17th but it’s popularity grew so much that it turned into a multi-day event usually lasting from December 17th through December 23rd. Observance of the festival lasted for centuries.
Writings from the 2nd century BCE reference Saturnalia banquets, and reports of Saturnalia revels persisted well into the 5th century AD. The influence of Saturnalia on the December holidays as we know and celebrate them today is unmistakable and profound.
Saturnalia was a giant Roman street party, er…I mean ritual. Saturnalia paid homage to the god Saturn. Saturn was a god of abundance, among other things.
The festival itself was a celebration of a mythical golden age when humankind was free from labor and could generally swan about together in idyllic bliss sipping wine and enjoying plenty of free nosh.
So let’s talk about that wine!Conditum Paradoxum is a spiced wine. Romans typically drank this wine chilled but it could also be enjoyed warmed too. Fortunately for us, the popularity of Saturnalia and the Roman proclivity to write things down we have a recipe.
“Put six sextarii of honey into a bronze jar containing two sextarii of wine, so that the wine will be boiled off as you cook the honey. Heat this over a slow fire of dry wood, stirring with a wooden rod as it boils. If it boils over, add some cold wine. Take off the heat and allow to cool. When it does cool, light another fire underneath it. Do this a second and a third time and only then remove it from the brazier and skim it. Next, add 4 ounces of pepper, 3 scruples of mastic, a dragma of bay leaf and saffron, 5 date stones and then the dates themselves. Finally, add 18 sextarii of light wine. Charcoal will correct any bitter taste.” – Apicius, 1.1″
Okay. I’m right out of sextarii measuring cups and my brazier is being cleaned right now. So here’s a modern day version for you. I make this in party sized batches because, well, if the Romans could throw a seven day ritual the least I can do is make enough wine so each guest can have several drinks*
2 bottles of viognier but sauvignon blanc will do just fine.
2 cups of honey (if you can get honey with lovely floral notes, even better)
2 dates or 3 dried figs (but not both). If you have neither, use one of those snack pack sized boxes of raisins.
2 teaspoons of black pepper (the Romans loved black pepper)
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
4 bay leaves
Several strands of saffron
Grab a nice big saucepan and pour in the two cups of honey. Add 1 cup of the wine and the dates (figs or raisins). Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring as you go, until all of the honey is incorporated and dissolved.
When the honey is dissolved and the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and add all of the other ingredients. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Next, grab a kitchen funnel, a coffee filter and a carafe (or just reuse the wine bottles). Put the coffee filter into the funnel and pour the wine through the filter, collecting the spices and sediment. Discard the filter and anything in it. Now you’ll have a your very own conditum paradoxum. Put the bottle(s) in the fridge and chill. You can also reheat the wine in a saucepan if you like the mulled wine effect.
If you can stand to wait a few hours before drinking, you’ll really notice all of the spice notes and fruit coming through. This is a sweet, sweet, sweet, concoction so sip rather than gulp…Or gulp, no judgement here!
Happy all the things you might celebrate at this time of year. Mine’s a double thank you very much.
*Drink responsibly. Don’t drive. Don’t drink if you know you shouldn’t drink.