Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Bless me Father, I went to an OF Mass!

Well actually I was early for the EF Mass and so sat at the back at St James's Spanish Place to try and kick my soul into some sort of shape ready for 9.30am and the 'Introibo ad altare dei'.....

The 'new' Mass was about a third of the way through and I tried, very hard to focus on prayer but, the day before had been the Solemn High Mass at Blackfen and the Catholic Guild of Bloggers meeting and I was still high on the memories.
Traditional fare - an extraordinary pork pie!

Also, there were many distractions, people coming and going and then...blow me! the priest appeared to be celebrating Mass without any altar servers, none! not even any of the female persuasion.

But - it was celebrated very reverently and the priest (I believe it was the good Fr Colven) just said the Mass and did not get up to any fol-de-rols.

So what did my wandering mind pick up on? Bearing in mind that I only normally attend the EF Mass.

Well, few of those coming or going bothered to genuflect. I cannot understand this lack of respect at all and really feel like grabbing the person by the scruff of the neck and giving them a good shake but I normally say a Hail Mary for them instead; it's more charitable and it's better for my blood pressure.

When the time came for the Pater noster  Our Father, a lot of the congregation started to do aeroplane impressions which I thought was a bit off until I realised that this was a way of praying, not a very discreet way, more a "look at me" way.
Then, at Holy Communion there was a bit of a shambles of folk strolling up hands in pockets (there were one or two, literally) but it all went off pretty well as at an EF.

Now what, you may ask, was I doing watching all that was going on and not praying or preparing for Mass. Well, my excuse is that I decided to take a cool, long look at the OF Mass just to see how it compared with the EF.

It was, of course, an unfair comparison having less than 24 hours previously been transported to heavenly heights by great singing at a great Mass (yes, I know every Mass is great but, it has to be said, some have more elements of greatness about them).

When the Latin Mass began I was surprised to see the Phillipino element in the congregation swell noticeably; was this a result of the unity of the Latin language? ie easier to hear Mass in Latin rather than their second language?

Anyway, still people entered the pews without genuflecting so it's not just a modern Catholic thing, traditionalists are guilty also. The Mass then proceeded as all TLMs do, slowly, reverently and allowing for full reflection and meditation.

So then let me now say that, after this chance of more or less instant comparison, I conclude (without wishing to appear patronising or condescending in any way) that the Ordinary Form of Mass is precisely that, and that is what the Holy Father surely intended when he gave the two forms their designations. There is no insult within the context of 'Ordinary', it is just a plain unvarnished sort of Mass, perfectly reverent within its framework.

The Extraordinary Form is.....well I don't need to spell it out. It is a fuller and more elaborate means of worshipping Almighty God; for me it invokes a greater degree of spirituality (much needed).

So. To compare the two forms of Mass is rather like comparing a pork pie with an orange. Both are food but, in their own way they have a totally different aspect and flavour.

Some people like oranges, but for me, you can't beat a pork pie!


  1. Though we have many hogs and the skills necessary to make pie crust here in Missouri somehow, obviously through a serious oversight, no one has ever mentioned combining the two. This is soon to be rectified! I've got some pulled pork from the hog I bought last January still in the freezer and I'm thinking that should be perfect!

    Do you have any recipes that you could point me to?

    This kind'a reminds me of a knish - though you won't be findin' pork inside one! I grew up in a Catholic/Jewish neighborhood so I ate lots of Kosher food when I was a kid.

    Is there a traditional beer one would drink with pork pie? If I'm goin' to get my Brit on I might as well go all the way!

  2. Catawissa - here is a recipe for you -

    Pork pie

    1kg boned pork shoulder
    250g pork belly
    250g streaky bacon
    2 bushy sprigs of thyme
    2 sage leaves
    ½ tsp ground mace
    ½ tsp ground white pepper
    2 good pinches ground nutmeg

    For the pastry:
    200g lard
    220g water
    575g flour
    1 beaten egg
    1 x 20cm cake tin

    For the stock:
    bones from the pork (left)
    2 pig's trotters
    1 onion
    1 small carrot
    1 small bunch of parsley stalks
    1 rib of celery
    6 black peppercorns

    Make the filling

    You need to chop the pork into small cubes, about 5mm in size. You could mince it, but the texture will be much more interesting if you can bear to cut it by hand. Or you could chop half, then whizz the other briefly in the food processor.

    Finely chop the bacon.

    Remove the thyme leaves from their stems, add the sage leaves and chop both finely. Mix the herbs into the chopped meats together with the mace, white pepper, nutmeg and 1 tsp each of salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

    Make the pastry
    Put the lard and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Sift the flour with a good pinch of salt into a large bowl. Pour the hot lard and water into the flour, mix with a wooden spoon, then leave until cool enough to handle. The pastry must be warm when you start to work it.

    Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease and flour your mould or cake tin (with removable bottom). Pull off a quarter of the pastry and roll it into a lid that will fit the top of the cake tin. Roll the remaining pastry to fit the base of the tin. Lay it in the bottom, then firmly push the dough up the sides with your hands. It should spread quite easily. If it slides down, leave it to cool a bit more. Make certain there are no holes or tears. This is crucial, as the jelly will leak out. Spoon the pork filling into the lined cake tin and press it down. It should come almost to the top of the pastry.

    Brush the edges of the pastry above the meat with beaten egg. Lower the lid into place and press tightly to seal with the edges. Poke a small hole in the lid to let out the steam and put the tin on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 160C/gas mark 3 and bake for 90 minutes until the pastry is pale gold. Brush with the beaten egg and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

    Make the stock
    Put the bones into a deep saucepan with the onion, carrot, parsley stalks and the celery rib. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and leave the liquid to cook for an hour, watching the water level carefully and topping up where necessary.

    Remove from the heat, decant the liquid into a bowl and leave to cool. Refrigerate overnight. If it has set very firmly, simply remove the fat from the top of the stock, transfer to a saucepan and bring to the boil. If it is still on the runny side, then remove the fat as before, pour into a saucepan and boil hard until it is reduced to about 400ml. Season carefully with salt.

    When the pie is ready, pour the stock into a jug and then pour it carefully through the hole in the top of the pastry. A funnel is invaluable here. Leave the pie to cool, then refrigerate overnight.

    Best eaten with English mustard, apple chutney and a glass of Reverend James bitter (or any bitter beer if not available).

    Happy eating!

  3. Thanks, Richard. I've got another hog comin' this January (friends at Church raise 'em down the road from us). I think that I'll set this aside 'til then because I'll have all the parts I need to make it. But I might just stop by the butcher before hand and round up the stuff I need 'cause this sounds too good to wait for. It's apple season so I'll have to find a recipe for apple chutney and make some of that, too.

    I understand most everything in this recipe and can make the conversion from metric to standard easily but I still have a couple questions. First, the stock. I read this as saying that I should remove the fat from the stock after cooling and then use the stock sans fat. Is this correct? If so, how thick should the stock be before pouring? It seems that without fat it'll be rather thin. Perhaps enough fat still remains inside the liquid to firm it up, creating sort of a jelly?

    Secondly, though we both speak English, there are certain things that just don't translate. What the hell is a pig trotter? Maybe our hogs don't got 'em 'cause I ain't never heard'a that one a'fore! (Just a little Ozark English for ya'll there to illustrate my linguistic predicament.)

    Again, thanks for the recipe. This sounds like the perfect snack to take when sittin' in the deer woods all day hopin' to put some meat in the freezer. Sounds like it might make a good Christmas treat, too. Is there a traditional use for these in the UK?

  4. Aha Catawissa - two countries divided by a common tongue!
    Let me explain, pig's trotters are, in your parlance, hog's feet, hoof and all. They have the effect (after long slow simmering, of turning stock into jelly. Still take off the hardened fat and you will find a rich savoury jelly (do you call it jelly, I don't mean jam?) beneath.
    Any doubts just google Nigel Slater's Pork Pie recipe.
    We eat 'em summer and winter but it would be very seasonal to have pork pie say, on Christmas Eve, with some pickled onions...you know pickled onions?
    Also good when sitting in a wood stalking deer.
    Now, what are grits?

  5. Pickled pigs feet were a staple in my German grandpa's house when I was a kid. Didn't know that they would turn stock to jelly. Learn something new every day. Makes sense though because I've always heard that horse hooves are used to make gelatin.

    Grits are one of the best bland foods you can ever cook because they take on the flavor of whatever you mix them with. Basically ground, cooked corn, they are not much different than polenta except that they seem to me to be somewhat coarser, but just slightly.

    Mix in some cheese, perhaps a bit of sausage or whatever else you want and you've got some good eatin' right there. Grits are a staple in the Southern states and rural areas in the Mid Western states. They come from the American Indians, just like the corn they're made from.

    Many people eat them plain for breakfast, just like oat meal. They don't do much for me plain. I like some cheese mixed in at the very least. They are also a common replacement for rice as a side dish and used in much the same way.

    I've eaten pickled onions but after looking at some recipes for traditional English pickled onions I have to say that I've never eaten anything like them. Ours don't have malt vinegar. We make them more like traditional pickled vegetables. Now I've got something else to make and try.

  6. Sorry to butt in on this cullinary discussion, but Catawissa, did you say from the Ozarks? The Ozark Mountain Daredevils are one of my favourite bands, and their track It'll Shine When It Shines is one of the wonders of modern music!

  7. Hey Ben,

    Yep, the Ozarks. I live on the eastern side in Franklin County, Missouri, more or less the very beginning of the Ozarks on this side of the state. The Daredevils come from Springfield, about 150 miles Southeast of here. We've been tapping our feet to them since the '70's. They still play locally. In fact they're scheduled to play Wildwood Spring Lodge (http://bit.ly/mUgvV7), just upriver (Meramec River - spring fed, clear and full of smallmouth) in Steeleville, on Nov 4-5. I wish I could afford to go see them. It's been awhile since I have.

    Here's a clip from the Daredevils playing "It'll Shine When it Shines" at Wildwood (http://bit.ly/oFLUZ9). Basically, Wildwood is a giant living room where the band plays right in front of you and then comes down to drink beer with the fans.

  8. Thanks Catawissa - what a great video (sorry to take up your comms box with this, Richard!)

    Wildwood sounds wild!

    Wish I could see them live - we live in the Cumbrian mountains in NW England, and I don't think they come here that often...

  9. Ben and Catawissa - be my guest, sounds fascinating (really).
    I've lost my sound at present so the Ozark Mountain Daredevils will have to wait.

  10. Wow! That is sheer trickery! Putting a pork pie as the pic... You knew a certain brand of Catholic will ALWAYS look at a post that contains a pork pie. God bless you kind sir! The world cannot be beyond Redemption so long as we have some good Catholics defending the Faith and some half-decent pork pies.

    The Good Lord deliver us from the lukewarm Catholics and bland food!

    Now if only I could discover that pork pies originated in Wales... ;-)

  11. Gareth, be content with the Welsh Landrover....
    the Daihatsu!

  12. Personally, I'd rather have Croque Monsieur in the vernacular.

  13. Thanks Lena - well it is an extraordinary one!

  14. Talked to my neighbors up at Church on Sunday and they said the hog I'm buying is going up to the butcher January 9th. I told him to make sure I get the feet (trotters - sorry) and his daughter gave me the weirdest look. When I explained the reason to her she added the most terrible gagging sound to the look. Like most people she's more than happy to eat it as long as she doesn't know what goes into it.

    They told me they're figurin' the hog ought'a weigh in at about 300# so I shouldn't be lackin' for meat to work with.

    It's gun season for deer here in Missouri now. Hopefully I'll get one to add to the freezer with the hog. My wife loves venison and I love sittin' in the woods so everybody wins.

  15. Your talking about the hog being butchered makes me think of a few years ago when I worked in a hospital training department.

    In order to train the new doctors to do chest drains and emergency decompressions they had to practice but you couldn't do it on a human (after a couple of times they would either be mildly upset or very very still) so they used Wild Boar bread on a nearby farm out in the rural.

    I have a wonderful picture somewhere of two wild boar lying, feet up, on morgue tables whilst an Anesthatist (Anasthesiologist?) in full hospital scrubs is holding a blowtorch to one of them in an attempt to burn away enough of the thick hair for the students to access the chest area.

    The look of absolute serenity on his face is something to behold.

    Anyway, it all worked out ok. The students got a chance to poke tubes into something that feels the same as a person and we got some very nice sausages a week or so later.

    Just thought I would share that.

  16. Catawissa, in Ireland the call them crubeens which sounds marginally better than trotters. Enjoy your pie (game pie with venison is v. good also).

    LF - good to hear from you. Your story reminded me of one involving Salford University who were throwing a great feast for the good and mighty.
    My brother was Bursar in charge of catering and he ordered 12 suckling pigs (piglets about 3 months old). As this was a specialist order the abattoir delivered them personally in a small van.
    Unfortunately, the van had a crash and overturned.
    The driver was shaken but unhurt and a traffic policeman thought he would check the in the back of the van in case anyone was in there.
    He pulled the doors open, saw the 12 pink bodies and fainted!

  17. Thank you - good to be here.
    I love that story.