Have you heard? Today is exactly nine months until Christmas! No, I’m not rushing out to get an early start on my shopping. Nine months until Christmas would make today the Feast of the Annunciation.
While not all the Christian world celebrates Feast Days like Catholics do, we all recognize the impact of this day. Today we celebrate that the Angel Gabriel came to a young girl named Mary with a special mission from God. Mary accepted, and put into motion God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. While today is not a Holy Day of Obligation within the Universal Catholic Church, there are many who believe it should be, if for no other reason than as an example of the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life.
Since Christmas was not always celebrated, the Feast of the Annunciation did not come into existence on the Church Calendar until sometime around the 4th or 5th century, after the date of Christ’s birth was made universal. The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, prayed on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays of Advent, center around Mary and her relationship to God as well as to Christ. The First Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation; as described in Luke 1 26-38. If we could all answer as Mary did with “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” imagine what the world would be. God’s greatest gift to His creation is that we are born with free-will. We can gladly surrender that will to God, or do as we please for our own satisfaction. Let’s face it, thus far most of us have made a mess of things on our own. We can’t see the forest for the trees, if you will. We tend to think in terms of right now – what makes me happy right now. God thinks in terms of always and forever. Since we cannot, I believe it’s best to leave things to God.
Today is also International Waffle Day. This too is associated with the Feast Day of the Annunciation. To celebrate, I thought it might be nice to pull out a recipe from an old cookbook. This recipe is older than I am, and that’s pretty darn old! Enjoy the beauty of this wonderful day.
Orange Annunciation Waffles
2 Eggs, separated
6 tablespoons Shortening, melted
1/2 cup Orange Juice
2 teaspoons orange Zest
2 cups Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 cup Milk
Separate egg whites from yolks; set yolks aside in a small bowl or cup until ready to incorporate into the batter. Beat whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. Set whites aside.
Melt shortening, set aside. Zest orange, then juice. Set aside both the zest and juice. If the orange does not provide a half cup, add juice from a carton.
Sift flour; measure, add baking power, salt and sugar; sift again. Set dry ingredients aside.
Beat egg yolks, add milk, orange juice, zest, and melted shortening. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture, stir just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. (Do not overwork the batter).
Fold in egg whites. Transfer batter to a pitcher or large measuring cup with a pour spout. Let batter rest while the waffle iron is heated.
Note: In the absence of a heat control or indicator for the waffle maker, heat the iron for about 8 minutes. A moderately hot temperature, correct for plain waffles, has been reached when a few drops of cold water placed on the heated grids immediately form into white balls and play tag around the knobs of the grids. For batters containing chocolate, molasses, cheese or actual bits of fruit, the maker should be slightly cooler. It will be just right when a few drops of cold water placed on the grids slowly bubble and boil away.
Pour the waffle batter from the pitcher or measuring cup around the center of the grids to about an inch from the outside edge; the heating batter should expand to fill the grids completely. Bake in the heated iron until no steam is escaping. Carefully lift up the lid, check for desired doneness. If necessary, bake a few more seconds.
If desired, serve with fresh fruit, garnish with orange rinds and a dollop of whipped cream.
Here I am, Lord. I come to do Your will.