To quote a certain children’s musical, “Beef! Pork! Chicken! Mmmmmm!” It’s Friday in the Octave of Easter, which means it’s still Easter. Hooray! And Easter means that Good News abounds, and so does rejoicing. It’s a feast worthy of celebrating for eight whole days. In fact, according to The 1983 Code of Canon Law:
Canon 1251 Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless (nisi) they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Read on, past that paragraph, and you’ll see how the US Bishops have acquired permission for those of us in the States to choose our own penance on non-Lenten Fridays—but we still are required to perform acts of penance on Fridays that aren’t solemnities.
Side note: I went to Catholic school for 12 years, and NO ONE EVER TOLD US THIS. Not that I remember, anyway. My parents certainly never told me. And nobody ever really pointed out why we fast and/or abstain on Fridays in the first place. Not that I’m bitter. I’m sure the people who neglected to share this info with us either were completely ignorant themselves or simply thought they were sparing us unnecessary difficulty. However, it’s not necessary that Jesus loves us. He loves us and gave his life for us through an act of free will. It’s kind of petty for us to say we love Him back but not want to give anything up for Him. The guy gave up His life for us on a Friday. The least I can do is skip the cheeseburger. In having this information left out of so much of my life, I often feel like I was robbed of chances to show the One who loves me most how much I love Him. Maybe that’s why I have such devotion to meatless Fridays.
Anyway, today, however, Friday in the Octave of Easter, is still a solemnity. 100% Rejoicing, 0% Penance! Our family has a tradition of making homemade marshmallows on Holy Saturday so we have marshmallows to eat all of Easter Week. They’re made with gelatin, which is made from “flesh meat” byproduct. They’re pure white and remind us of Christ’s purity. They’re sweet and remind us of God’s sweet love for us. They’re fluffy, and in a way their air pockets point to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They’re also a lot of fun to make, especially the coating part.
- 3 T unflavored gelatin
- 1 c cold water, divided
- 2 c sugar
- 1 c light corn syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Coatings: plain sugar, candy sprinkles, hot chocolate mix, graham cracker crumbs, flaked coconut… anything else you can think of
In the bowl of an electric mixer, put ½ c cold water and sprinkle with gelatin. Let gelatin bloom while performing the next steps. In a saucepan with a heavy bottom, stir together remaining water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is boiling, give it one last stir and then leave it alone until a candy thermometer reads 240F (soft ball stage). While waiting, fit your electric mixer with the biggest whisk attachment it has.
Once syrup reaches soft ball, remove from heat. Turn on mixer to highest possible setting, then CAREFULLY drizzle syrup into gelatin mixture. Whip at high speed until mixture is light, fluffy, and about doubled in size (depending the power of your mixer, this could take 5-15 minutes). Whip in vanilla.
Line a large 9X12 pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour marshmallow batter into pan and spread evenly. Top with another sheet of foil and leave to cure for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Cut marshmallows into 1” squares using a pizza cutter or sharp knife sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Coat marshmallows in the kinds of coatings listed above. Store in an airtight container for up to ten days.