Today is Maundy Thursday, which means tonight was my favorite church service of the year – probably due in large part to the fact it involves a shared meal.
Several years ago our rector started a Maundy Thursday service she called a Journey to Cavalry. We begin outside the church and “travel” inside, stopping for hand washing (I know foot washing is traditional, but…), followed by an agape meal, the eucharist, and finally ending up in the “Garden of Gethsemane” which has been set up in the parlors. Different members of the congregation take turns in the garden, praying and staying up all night.
When we started this tradition the agape meal consisted of us milling around a small table sharing the food with each other. We still share the food, however as the service has grown we’ve added tables down the center isle of the church and more radiating into the transepts. Various parishioners provide the colorful tablecloths and china, and this year my husband added dozens of red oak candle holders which he made. We filled the candle holders with votives and candles left over from All Saints day and the midnight Christmas mass. Remembering, reusing, recycling, followed by rejoicing on Easter Sunday.
For those of you who have not been to an agape meal it is a shared feast, connected to, but separate from the eucharist. Ours features grapes, cheeses, nuts, dried fruits, olives, matzoh, pita, and hummus. While most of the items are simply purchased at the store this year I made a big batch of Molly Yeh’s hummus. The chick peas simmered as I sanded the edges of the candle holders. After loading up the car with bowls, candle holders, and groceries I popped back into the kitchen to finish the hummus. It’s ridiculously easy – once you’ve drained the warm chick peas, they get zapped in the food processor with tahini, fresh lemon juice, salt, and some water. A few minutes later the hummus is ready for a drizzle of olive oil and some sprinkled parsley. Then comes the hardest part – you have to pack up the warm hummus. I know you’re quirking your eyebrow. Trust me – if you’ve never had warm, homemade hummus you won’t understand, but I can tell you it is the best thing ever and now you know!
Yeh serves her warm hummus with pita, which I wrote about here. I agree warm hummus and fresh pita are a dynamic duo, but it’s also pretty great just by the spoonful!
Maundy Thursday Hummus
1 cup chick peas, soaked overnight*
Generous pinch of baking soda
1/3 cup tahini
1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 + teaspoons salt
3-6 Tablespoons cold water
Olive oil (optional)
Chopped parsley (optional)
Drain the soaked chick peas and cover them in cold water by 3-4 inches. Add the baking soda and bring to a boil. Once they are rolling along you may need to skim off any foam that rises to the top. I usually drop them down to a simmer at this point. It will take 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours for them to soften depending on your stove and chick peas.
Drain off the cooking liquid and place them into a food processor, along with the tahini, lemon juice, salt and some of the cold water. Zap until smooth 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
*If you forget to soak the chick peas you’ll just need to boil them a bit longer.
Red Oak Candle Holder Give Away
Shawn made loads of the red oak candle holders so we thought it would be nice to give away a pair. To enter simply leave a comment about hummus or your favorite shared meal or just say “I’m in” in the comment section below by midnight April 17th EST (comments on my social media sites don’t count). We’ll pick one winner at random.
This delightful flower arrangement outside the doors of St. John’s was done by Susan Roy.
Wishing you all a joyous Easter or Passover or Spring!
Update: Congratulations to Sue K. who is the lucky winner of the red oak candle holders!