Feast-Keeping: The Longest Night of the Year

In much of the Northern Hemisphere the days are growing shorter, colder; the darkness catches us off guard with its earliness. The trees have passed their peak of autumn splendor and now are giving up their withered leaves one by one; the flowers are fading fast; the browning grass is going to sleep until the spring. All nature is making the long descent into winter, to the longest night of the year, but we humans rage against this dying of the light.

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rime

i woke one morn in winter past
the world still hushed and sleeping fast

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Polenta

Starting at low to medium heat and increasing as the liquid gets hot, bring the water, milk and salt to a boil in a large saucepan (heating on high from the start can scorch the milk solids). Add the polenta, reduce the heat, and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and creamy. Remove from heat, add butter as you see fit, then cover and let stand for up to 5 minutes. The butter should be melted at this point; stir into the polenta, then transfer to a serving bowl.

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Roasted parsnips and turnips with clementines and rosemary

A note about turnips and parsnips: These root vegetables often get a bad rap, but they both become lovely and sweet when roasted; turnips will have a slightly sharp or spicy flavor as well, reminiscent of horseradish.

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Roast pork with citrus sauce

ely. Bone-in roasts such as the Boston butt shoulder are generally more flavorful and less expensive, but then there’s the bone to deal with and subtract from the weight of the cut. There’s no bone in a pork loin, which can save time and give you more meat for your money.

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