When I was living in NY I bought Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Mrs. Sharp's Traditions. This started my formulation of neat traditions I could do with my future children. It was in this book that I learned of Martinmas and lantern walks. Somehow though I have never gotten it together on November 11th; I am lucky if we remember to get the flag flying before mid-day. But not this year! No, this year I was determined to celebrate Martinmas. Since it fell on a Wednesday this year Mr. W didn't want to do a traditional roast duck. From various sources I have learned that while duck or goose was popular on the continent, pork or sausage was common in Ireland and England. So in Slow Food terms, the animals like pigs that wouldn't pull their weight through the winter and were difficult to preserve by salting were consumed first. Yum!
A few years ago I discovered persimmons which are in season in November. I found a great recipe for a persimmon, filbert and goat cheese salad in Bon Appetit magazine. So we started our Martinmas celebration with that.
Then our main course was a bountiful platter of sausages and mashed sweet potatoes with pecans and ye olde traditional marshmellows. I figured I ought to experiment now for Thanksgiving. In some countries, like Slovenia, wine is a big part of the Martinmas feast because this is when the new wine would be ready to drink. Mr. W found a nice Reisling to compliment our meal. We were pretty full afterward and there was a break in the Portland rain so we were able to go for a lantern walk. We used modern "lanterns" and had Daddy, Momma, and baby sized flashlights. We decided to go calling on our friends who live nearby. But both these couples are child free and wouldn't you know, people without kids can be out past 8 pm on a Wednesday night! So although we didn't get to drop in on anyone we had a nice evening walk to round out our first Martinmas.