The month of Mary: A Marian Month
Saint of the day:
St. Pachomius the Great
Saint Pachomius the Great
St. Pachomius was born about 292 in the Upeer Thebaid in Egypt and was inducted into the Emperor's army as a twenty-year-old. The great kindness of Christians at Thebes toward the soldiers became embedded in his mind and led to his conversion after his discharge. After being baptized, he became a disciple of an anchorite, Palemon, and took the habit. The two of them led a life of extreme austerity and total dedication to God; they combined manual labor with unceasing prayer both day and night. Later, Pachomius felt called to build a monastery on the banks of the Nile at Tabennisi; so about 318 Palemon helped him build a cell there and even remained with him for a while. In a short time some one hundred monks joined him and Pachomius organized them on principles of community living. So prevalent did the desire to emulate the life of Pachomius and his monks become, that the holy man was obliged to establish ten other monasteries for men and two nunneries for women. Before his death in 346, there were seven thousand monks in his houses, and his Order lasted in the East until the 11th century. St. Pachomius was the first monk to organize hermits into groups and write down a Rule for them. Both St. Basil and St. Benedict drew from his Rule in setting forth their own more famous ones. Hence, though St. Anthony is usually regarded as the founder of Christian monasticism, it was really St. Pachomius who began monasticism as we know it today. Other saints whose feast day is May 9th are St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Beatus.
Traditionally Sahlab was used as a medicine during the Ottoman times. And it was given to young brides a few weeks before the wedding for weight gain because a chubby bride was preferred over a thin one; body fat on a woman was a sign of wealth, health, and fertility.
What is Sahlab?
Sahlab is an Egyptian thick creamy white drink, which is normally made of a white flour like powder called Salep, obtained from the dried tubers of a white orchid. This ingredient is also used widely in Turkish cuisine. Since this ingredient is now rarely available, sources show that corn flour does the task quite effectively. Definitely would say that it was a really refreshing drink. I made it quite thick as I liked to pull the drink in but if you wish a little more watery consistency, then do adjust on the cornflour used. Please do not forget the cinnamon and crushed pistachio garnish – it takes the first sip of the drink to the next level!
12 oz milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp cornflour or cornstarch
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp rose water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Cinnamon & cardamom sugar and crushed pistachios for topping
Bring milk to heat in a saucepan. Combine the cornstarch into the water to make a slurry.
As the milk starts getting warm, add in the cornstarch slurry and combine well.
Keep stirring occasionally till the mixture thickens.
Add in the sugar, vanilla and rose water and cook for another minute.
Pour into a mug, sprinkle cinnamon & cardamom sugar and crushed pistachios on top. Savor hot!
Note: Extra toppings can be coconut, toasted hazelnuts or raisins and garnished with a cinnamon stick.