10 January 2013

Canticle of the Oat Farl


Take a seat; there’s a sermon in here somewhere.

Last week, I read Isaiah 24:16 before going to bed: “For the treacherous deal treacherously/ The treacherous deal very treacherously.” (NRSV)

Treacherous cat is treacherous.



On Sunday, I was properly dressed for church from the waist down since I hawked my hair and wore my “Hobbes’ Revenge” t-shirt from T-shirt Hell. I received stares.  I’ve been going to a small Catholic church for the few Sundays I’ve been home since it’s close.

After four years of honing my critical thinking skills, hearing the few hundred years ex post facto assignment of Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior as the givers of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh—ummm, well, let’s just say the Bible and the doctrine are human works from human hands.  The deacon accidentally misread the gospel as “Mary and his mother,” and my mind took one heck of a detour with that (Matthew 2:11, NABRE).
After all, Maimonides said for a man to be a prophet, he must have an imagination (and smarts and moral fibre). In my religious imagination, if I reassigned perceived sexualities in Biblical stories, Mary would be bi; being hetero seems too narrow for this holy figure.  However, I’m ace; I should talk about being narrow.

Since it was Epiphany, I now have holy chalk to perform the blessing of the doorways for the new calendar year.

A few Christmas songs have stuck with me: “What Child is This?”--I just like “Greensleeves” (which is, incidentally, possibly about a prostitute).  

In the third verse of “Good Christian Friends” two lines read, “Calls you one and calls you all/ To gain his everlasting hall.” My immediate thought was, “Jesus Christ is in Valhalla?”  

Finally, “Joy to the World” seems to acknowledge the presence of local deities or the spirits of non-sentient things:
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ;

While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.


As a brandy-new Druid in the SCA, my medieval Celtic self most likely lead cultic rituals to propitiate local deities. Yes, indeedy--with the gracious help of friends, I am on my way to participating in the Society for Creative Anachronism and living in the current Middle Ages!  This past weekend I was singing with my new voice; I kept saying how going to church on a regular basis is how I’m decent at sight-singing.  That, and singing in the car.  One year of high school chorus turned me to playing the bassoon for the rest of my high school musical career; my voice was at its highest then (mezzo-soprano).  Then I hit puberty and sang less so my voice changed.  No more pretending to be Christine Daae for me. I say I sang with my ‘new voice’ because for the last six or so years my singing has been more along the line of spoken word/growling because that’s the kind of music to which I listen (and church is only once a week, whether it’s Catholic, metaphysical, or Buddhist meditation).  

So when I go to Catholic church, I participate in as much chanting and singing as squares with me spiritually.  I don’t say the creed.  From my experience, God is not personified, and Jesus—as a human who realised his enlightened nature (the Metaphysical party line)—is not my primary way-shower.

What I’ve tested and found to be true in my life thus far is that one can experience moments of enlightenment in everyday life. Any sentient or non-sentient being has something to offer; the world is my guru.  What you find explains the world for you is most likely different and that is A-OK with me.

Recipe Interlude

In my research thus far, oats are one of the few “period” grains my SCA persona would have consumed in the tenth-eleventh century.  Sorghum is most definitely not.  Almond milk would have been at least temporally appropriate, I think, thought not geographically correct.  Maple syrup is way off-base.  As the dear Lady Neona informed me, they’re too heavy to be oat farls (yet they are fat-free).  Because of the shape, I suppose I ought to call them drop scones.

Oat Farls

1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used original enriched rice milk)
1 teaspoon vinegar (I used raw apple cider vinegar)
2 cups GF rolled oats

1 1/4 cup GF oat flour
1 1/4 cup GF sorghum flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup raisins

In a large glass measuring cup, combine the vinegar and non-dairy milk.  Stir in the oats, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator, about 8-24 hours or until the “buttermilk” is mostly absorbed.

A day later, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, soda, and cinnamon.  Scrape in the oat mixture and stir well.  Add the maple syrup when the mixture needs more liquid to come together.  Stir in the raisins and mix well.  You may either dollop the mixture by 3-inch piles on the baking sheet or you may pour the entire mixture onto the sheet, spread it into a 12-inch diameter circle, and cut it into wedges with a wet knife.

However you decide to shape it, bake the farls for about 20 minutes or until they are browned on top and bottom and they spring back to the touch.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.


As Lady Neona found, they are good with apple butter.  The oat farls sustained me through my first SCA event, the Kingdom of Aethelmearc’s Twelfth Night celebration.

In the car on the way home from church, I opened the sunroof rocking out to “They” by Combichrist.  Hey, if it’s above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, my sunroof is open, as long as I’m travelling below 45 mph. The song would be awesome to dance to; after dancing quite a bit at the Twelfth Night, I can’t stop.  No, I don’t have red shoes.  Two songs from church have been jumping into my head: “Lord of the Dance” and “How Can I Keep from Singing?”  I would like to write a bellydance routine to “They” (particularly about 3:50), and I’ve been working out to it.

Sure, it’s nice to go to church with friends and people who like the Goth look and are a little fringe themselves.

But let’s face it, ain’t nowhere am I going to find a church preaching what I want to hear 24/7.

As Thomas Paine said, “My own mind is my own church.”  Time to go.
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