This thing of being a colonized country doesn’t even let us say some tradition is (originally) ours! Here I was, sure that my beloved June Festivities post would be Brazilian only when I decided to check, and…! Here are the Scandinavians again (not only them, all the Northern Europe, actually)! Of course our June Festivities don’t stop from being special and even ours – since now they’re filled with our Brazilian ways – because of that!
When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil for the first time, they took a big deal of traditions with them, and then we shaped them to something more like us.
Everything starts with food, right? Here in the North hemisphere the longest day of the year, the Summer solstice, is coming (this year on Jun 21st) and Summer means FOOD! It is a fact that before nationality or religion existed, there was food. Winter is now gone, the weather is propitious for harvesting and feasting. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate that? For being that special, the people from the North of Europe celebrated the Solstice and abundance that came along, after long cold winters.
Nowadays, countries like Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden (with one of the biggest celebrations on the planet) celebrate on the summer solstice St John’s Day (here in Norway Sankthans): when Christianity started spreading through Europe, not to butt heads with Pagans and maybe prosper among these people, the Christians decided to discretely mingle Christian celebrations with preexisting Pagan ones. With a dose of luck, after some time they may “become” Christian. There are lots of uncertainties, but we are led to believe that St John’s Day (Brazilian and European) worked out like that. It was scheduled for June 24th and represents his birthday – 6 months before Jesus’s.
There are some factors that lead to the comparison, besides the very date and feasting: they also celebrate fictional weddings, symbolizing the new life that came along with the new season. They lit up bonfires to keep evil creatures away, who would be roaming freely now that Sun and Earth would keep away from each other again – including witches, who would be out to meet them. The very “quadrilha” we dance in Brazil may have come from France – the quadrille (on the XIX century), that came from the French aristocratic contredanse on the XVIII century, which in turn came from an English peasant dance from the XIII century. uhf!
Since in Brazil we remember the people from the country on these celebrations, the food that remind us of them like peanut, cornmeal and corn are leading figures on the table. And if you need something to escape the sameness but without escaping tradition, this honey corn muffin came to brighten your solstice! It is super fast and easy peasy! you don’t even need a mixer, just a blender
– 1 3/4 cup flour
– 1/4 cup sugar*
– 1 tbsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup precooked corn kernels
– 1/2 cup honey*
– 100g unsalted butter, melted
*honey here is really different from how I knew it in Brazil. It “raw honey”, less processed and with more healthy features from the natural product. To my sweet tooth, it tastes very different and less sweet. Using the raw, I still had to add sugar. Probably using store-bought honey you can use only it, and substitute the sugar for an extra 1/4 cup flour, making it 2 cups.
0. Preheat the oven to 320F and prepare a 12-muffin tin (I cut twelve 5in parchment paper squares to give it a more rustic air)
1. Mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon
2. Blend together the eggs and corn kernels, until doughy
3. In the same container where you melted the butter, mix it well with the honey (sometimes honey can be too thick to be added only at the end, and needs to be more lose)
4. Add to the dry ingredients mixture the egg and the butter mixture, using a fouet until just blended.
5. Spoon the dough on the prepared muffin tin and bake for aprox 25 min, or until golden brown and a stick comes out clean.
For parties, it may be a good idea to use mini muffins tins, instead. If so, reduce baking time for 15-20 min and cut 4in parchment paper squares. It will make aprox 30 mini muffins