March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday - Hen and Chick Bread

Jesus' Palm Sunday Entry into Jerusalem
Our Supper Group friends just left - our brave friends. It's snowed a few inches, but the heaviest is supposed to start around midnight. I'm anxious to hear how their drive home went! It was raining in Denver when they left to come to our house. I'll let you know how much snow we get. It's not supposed to move on till tomorrow late afternoon. The meal turned out great, even though I was grilling the chickens in the snow! We had a great time and conversation.

I came home from church with lots of palm fronds (I do that every year) to decorate the kitchen table and set out my wool sheep and Jesus on a donkey. Everyone thought it so cool that I had to take a picture to post.

I found one tradition in all my readings for Palm Sunday that I've been doing several years now. My ancestors on my dad's side in the Netherlands carry on this tradition: baking bread chicks on a stick with colored streamers and parading them about homes and church. I bake a large bread shaped chicken with baby chicks sticking out around her.
Where does this come from, and why Palm Sunday?

As Jesus overlooked Jerusalem, He wept. Jesus knows us and loves us, even with all our ordinariness.
Jesus wished He could "gather them under My wings like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings". (Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34)

Here's my recipe for hen and chicks bread-
1 cup hot water in a blender with- 1 small unpeeled, cut up and seeded orange (cut off some skin to use as chick beaks)
1/2 cup raisins

Let soak a bit and then blend well. Pour into a bread-making bowl and add-
1 pkg (2 tsp) yeast

1/8 cup oil or melted butter

1/8 cup honey or sugar

1-2 Tb molasses

2 tsp-1Tb cinnamon

1 cup flour

Mix these ingredients just until the dry ingredients are moistened, and with a cover on to keep warm, let sit to sponge for 10 minutes. Then add-
2 tsp salt & more flour till dough begins to clean the bowl and form a ball. Knead for about 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into loaves or the chickens (one large or 2 small). Let rise on a greased baking sheet, covered with a towel. Bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
(I haven't done this this year yet. If I do, I'll take a picture and add it here.)

I do a large ball for the hen body, then lots of small balls around her body for the chicks and one small ball on top of her body for her head. Take a toothpick to make indents and add currents or cut up raisins for eyes and slivers of orange peel for beaks.

I pulled out art work that I set on an easel for this week. I have Leonardo da Vinci's "Lord's Supper" as well as a modern painting of the scene. I have Rembrandt's "The Raising of the Cross" where he paints himself in the picture. And then Michelangelo's "Pieta". I saw these scenes frozen in Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of Christ" and it caught my breath - a work of art!
Passion Week is before us. One day the people cry "Hosannas" that soon changed to "Crucify Him"!
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