Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thanksgiving Day (Ημέρα των Ευχαριστιών)

Thanksgiving is a celebration of thanks, as its name implies. Although there is no such formal occasion celebrated with this same name in Greece, the idea of giving thanks is a common element binding all people in the world. Even if it isn't celebrated in some formal way, it probably forms a part of everyone's lives in some way.

The closest celebration that comes to my mind in the life of the Greek Orthodox is the Eucharist, a religious rite performed in the church involving food: consecrated bread (the body of Christ) and wine (the blood of Christ). The word 'eucharist' comes the word εὐχαριστῶ (efharisto) ), which continues to mean 'thank you' in modern Greek: "The Greek noun eukharistia (εὐχαριστία) derives from eu- 'well' + kharis 'favor, grace'. Eukharisteo (εὐχαριστῶ) is the usual verb for "to thank" in the New Testament" (from Wikipedia). During the Eucharist, people partake in a Holy Communion with the Lord, by eating the bread and drinking the wine.

There is always a time to give thanks to friends and family, as well as to the superior force that governs each person's fate. It isn't the purpose of this post to propound a theory about who or what that force is, or whether it should be personified as God or Allah or Yehwah. All people probably feel that they have been wronged at some point in their life, but I think, on the most par,t I see people leading greater misery than what I have been through. I believe that there comes a moment when we should all be thankful for many reasons, but are too selfish to admit that we are thankful.

I could talk about being very thankful that the economic crisis has had little immediate effect in my life, but that's probably got to do with the kind of lifestyle I live. I honestly feel it has very little to do with my immediate life, apart from price increases products and services. I'd rather be thankful for more meaningful things in life, such as always being employed no matter how low the pay is, never spending beyond my means, and having a roof over my head, plus the fact that I live in a climate that is tolerable.

Above all, I am thankful for the good health of my family. Having given birth to children who were not at all healthy in the most commonly understood sense (my son wasn't able to produce his own blood for the first 9 months of his life, while my daughter spent the first month of her life in hospital as a preemie), coupled with my parents' deaths (both from cancer), I think I am living in a dream world now, where my whole family is very healthy. If only we could be thankful for the meaningful things in life.

In the spirit of the origins of Thanksgiving, and given that, according to my site statistics, most of my readers are from North America, here is my culinary creation: not a traditional turkey dinner (you may be put off turkey after seeing what happened to them in Alaska, which reminds me of another reason to be thankful), but chewy chocolate pumpkin drop cookies, created on a whim, in my constant endeavour to feed my children healthy food. The idea of adding cornflakes to biscuits is part of Kiwi ingenuity.

chocloate pumkin cornflake drop cookies chocloate pumkin cornflake drop cookies

1 cup of pumpkin puree (made by roasting the pumpkin till it is soft)
2/3 cup of sugar
¼ cup of honey
½ cup of olive oil
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (or more)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
a cup of cornflakes

Mix together the pumpkin, sugar, honey, oil, baking powder, cocoa, cinammon and salt, so that everything is combined well. Sift the flour into the mixture and mix it in well. Then add the cornflakes and mix them in so that they are evenly distributed without breaking up.

Drop spoonfuls of mixture onto a well-oiled baking sheet. (I didn’t use parchment paper, but I noticed that they will stick to the tin if it isn’t well oiled.) Bake for about 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven, until they are firm – they will not harden like a crisp biscuit. Cool on a wire rack to avoid condensation.


PS: Thanks for stopping by to read my musings!

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