Menu for Presentation Dinner

What do you serve on February 2nd? The following is our post from 2015:


In our house, February marks the 40th and last day of Christmas (even though the Christmas/Epiphany  season technically ended before Evening Prayer I of the Baptism of  the Lord).

Like many other feasts, there are several “layers” to this feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the temple (called Hypapante or The Meeting of the Lord in the Orthodox East, where the feast originated).  For centuries, this was known as the feast of  the Purification of  Mary and most popularly as “Candlemas”Day which included a special blessing  and carrying of candles in procession reminiscent of Jesus–the Light of the Gentiles–being brought to the temple on this day.


There are several things that we could do in the kitchen to bring this feast to the table:

1.  Get out the Christmas china or at least a Christmas tablecloth or napkins and light Christmas candles. You can actually roll each napkin in the shape  of a flaming candle.


2.  On the day Mary and Joseph offered two turtledoves (in keeping with the law of  Moses) we roast Cornish hens or other small poultry.  But to bring in the “Light” and “Glory” imagery, we glaze the roasted birds with an lemon-orange-honey glaze for the last 15 minutes they are in the oven (I know it is a stretch, but many people associate the FLAME of candles with yellow/orange/red–so why not use lemon and orange to “taste” the flames.


3.  While the glaze was roasting, we started supper with a  pumpkin soup (lots of recipes are available online) to keep with the “orange” color scheme and to use up two of  the small sugar pumpkins from the  cellar that were just starting to get some “spots”.


4.  On the day we bless, light and carry candles (The Light of revelation to the nations…”) I cut carrots on the diagonal so that  with a little bit  of  imagination, each slice actually resembles the shape  of a candle flame.  This past year’s carrot harvest included a half bushel of “rainbow” carrots so the vegetable accompanying our Cornish Hens were yellow, red, and orange carrot flames.


5.  Many years we have broccoli frozen from the garden–steaming these little “Green Trees” brings a little “Tannenbaum” back to the table on this final day of Christmas.


6.  There is something about an orange-glazed bird that calls loudly for wild rice instead of potatoes.  One of  my students, a Native American of  the Anishinabe tribe, picked a pound of rice for me last Fall when he visited his grandfather in northern Wisconsin:  we used half  of it for Christmas and the rest of it today, mixing it with some chopped roasted pecans, a chopped onion, chopped carrot and some dried cranberries from Toma, Wisconsin.


7.  Spinach salad seemed right… so we continued the ORANGE theme by dressing the spinach with the zest of one orange and then making the vinaigrette with

1 cup of orange juice,

1 Tablespoon honey,

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

some salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.


8.  Orange-flavored Cheesecake poured into a ground pecan crust and topped with a cup of sweetened sour cream (1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 t vanilla) which was then covered with ground pecans (sweetened with a bit of honey and cinnamon).  I placed 40 pecan halves in a “sun” with rays on top and pressed into the sides. (40 pecans for 40 days of Christmas).


Now it is time to do  the dishes.  Happy February!