Friday, April 24, 2015

Pomegranate and Quince

Summer’s consort waxed brightly
The tall and golden-haired prince
And She came to him nightly
With pomegranate and quince.
~ Gwydion Pendderwen, "The Wintry Queen"
from (Gwydion sings) Songs for the Old Religion

It's been chilly the last few days, here in the valley. It almost feels like fall is returning after our few days of glorious sun and balmy weather. An unseasonable chill in the air always reminds me of a young Witch I knew years ago, whose difficulty tolerating the heat and humidity of summer led him to wish for winter weather all year round. I can remember like it was yesterday, this curly headed young man with the laughing eyes, taunting the rest of us with his chant: "Now the leprous white Lady..." We'd all boo and hiss, but of course that only egged him on!

"The Wintry Queen" was one of the first Pagan songs I ever heard. Long before I was initiated, and even before the days of workshops, open circles and Pagan festivals where I picked up numerous chants in the style that Isaac Bonewits once mocked for its similarity to a funeral dirge. Back in the time when I knew only one other Pagan, and when the word "Witch" was pronounced only in hushed tones, that same young man had lent me his Gwydion LPs.

How liberating to listen to someone sing about my religion, about the things I cherished and the forces that made my world go around! Some of the tracks have become infamous anthems of Pagan religion, while others that I played over and over seem to be relatively forgotten these days. Even in my own mind, I don't replay the lyrics nearly as often anymore.

But occasionally a little snippet comes back to me, and I'll pause to remember those early days. I may even look it up online, try to see if anyone has written about it or been inspired to include it in their own work. So it was with the phrase, "pomegranate and quince."

There are surprisingly few returns for that search.  Of course pomegranate is really trendy now, and both fruits can be found if searched individually. But the combination had always seemed elusive. I could find no culinary, cultural, or magickal references to this pairing. Despite the fact that they are both fruits of the fall, and share similar energies, I never found them together.

Until now.

Nazima Pathan of the Franglais Kitchen offers up a quince and pomegranate jam recipe, which I am now dying to try out! Chunks of quince are essentially poached in spiced and sweetened pomegranate juice. The result is a lovely, ruby red preserve in which the chunks of quince look like cut jewels. And I can only imagine the aroma! Spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, like an apple pie, and the licorice-scented star anise, I'm sure both the scent and the flavour are divine!

I'm going to wait till these fruits are in season to test out the recipe, but in the meantime I'll leave you to listen to the song that inspired my quest.

Thanks to LoggaWiggler of Pixabay, for the lovely quince photo