In CRL’s Cooking for Christ cookbook, Florence Berger shares about traditions from the early Christians as well as across Europe celebrating the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel. Florence speaks of the importance of being ready for the second coming of Christ, and the warfare that will come.
“The early Christians realized they must fight a continual warfare in this life in order to find reward in the next. It was an invisible ‘wrestling not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in high places.’ They were in dead earnest when they girded themselves for battle against the devil, and rallied around St. Michael as their leader. This fight would grow fiercer as the world grew old and near its end. Then greater help would come from Michael, heavenly warrior and chief of that:
embattled flaming multitude
Who rise wing above wing, flame above flame,
And like a storm cry the ineffable Name.
Meat was not the only traditional food used on St. Michael’s Day. If you would ask a Frenchman what he remembers of the feast of Saint Michael, he would probably smack his lips and make you hungry for Gaufres. These are thin waffle-like wafers that were sold on the city squares in the shadow of the old French cathedrals. As the Agnus Dei bell rang during Mass, the sweet aroma of the Gaufres would drift in through the high arched door. Do you suppose that Marchand de Gaufre could have set up his stand there for a purpose? Many a petit garcon would squirm in his place in church, impatient to bite into the sweet crisp cakes. The old-time Gaufres were baked between two iron plates, clamped together by long handles. The iron was called a Gaufrier and often had beautiful designs on the separate halves. These decorations, which were pressed into the cake, were usually religious in character. How much more imaginative and Christian were the makers of Gaufriers than our waffle-iron manufacturers.
Christianity means to live life with thought and in imitation of Christ. Christianity means to infuse everyday experiences and materials with the dignity of the spirit of Christ. Christianity means to ‘transform the very bread that feeds the body into symbolic fare that feeds the soul.’ Even a cooking utensil can reflect Christ’s beauty.
Our family has not yet invested in a true French Gaufrier, but we use a waffle iron to make this American version of St. Michael’s Gaufres. The recipe is like that for waffles.”
Gaufres Recipe (Waffles)
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups flour
¾ to 1 cup whole milk 4 tbsp melted butter ¼ tsp vanilla
Preheat the waffle iron, buttering both sides well. Beat the eggs, egg yolk and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the flour and milk alternately until the mixture is smooth. Stir in butter and vanilla. Ladle a portion of the batter onto the hot iron, and cook until golden and crispy. Serve hot or cold.
The mixture is thin and should spread evenly on the preheated iron. If Gaufres tend to stick, butter both sides of the iron.
Note: You can purchase a copy of the Cooking for Christ cookbook here.