Viejos comiendo sopa (Two Old Men Eating Soup), by Francisco Goya 1819-1823
Hemp Seed Soup for the Soul: A Christmas Eve Classic
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
All the creatures were stirring, especially the Ghost…
On this giant spinning sphere we all celebrate in our own way. Traditions passed down from centuries of tales and beliefs. Some of those traditions predate the understanding of our own beliefs…
In ancient Silesia and Lithuania (now area’s that encompass parts of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany) Saturnalia (a week long pagan festival) would bring all the towns people together for holiday celebrations much like present day, with a little twist of course…
December 25 would mark the last day of the celebrations to live it up in the holiday, but Christmas Eve(December 24) was for the dead…
They believed that on December 24, the souls of their dead family members would come back to the house to visit.
Wanting to entice the souls a large feast was made, one dish was made just for the visiting souls to savor….
Hemp Seed Soup…
Siemieniatka / kanapiø koðë or semianka aka Silesia/Lithuanian Hemp Seed Soup
Siemieniatka, kanapiø koðë or semianka is the ancient recipe that is made just for these gathered souls. This hemp seed soup would entice the visiting souls to savor the offering allowing them to stay that much longer with their loved ones…
Semianka aka Hemp seed soup was traditionally prepared by putting whole hemp seeds in water and simmering them until they start to burst. They were then drained and crushed, a process which produced a sap-like, milky substance. This “hemp milk” was then used in combination with cow’s milk, with the addition of sugar, salt, butter and flour, and then simmered some more until it turned into a rich, creamy and thick, soupy porridge.
For all those wanting a little soup for your soul’s, here you go…
Siemieniatka / kanapiø koðë or semianka aka Silesia/Lithuanian Hemp Seed Soup Recipe-
6 oz. Raw, shelled, whole hemp seeds
12 oz. Water
8 oz. Prepared hemp milk (optional alternative to the above two ingredients, if you do not want to make your own hemp milk)
12 oz. Whole cow’s milk
4 tbsp. All-purpose flour
4 tbsp. Salted butter
6 tbsp. Granulated white cane sugar
(If you would like to try the original ancient recipe, start with putting whole hemp seeds in water and simmering them until they start to burst. Then drain and crush (like making mashed potato’s), a process which produces a sap-like, milky substance. Then move on to #2)
1. If you are using the more traditional method, making your own hemp milk from scratch, place the whole hemp seeds (but buy them already shelled – we aren’t going to go through all the intense labor our Lithuanian ancestors did, okay?) in a blender along with the water, and pulverize into a combined liquid.
2. Then place the hemp milk in a saucepan and simmer it until it reduces down to about 8 ounces of a more thick and creamy milky substance.
2a. If you are using already prepared (store bought) hemp milk, it will also need to be reduced and thickened, the same as you would do in step one for homemade hemp milk.
3. Now combine the hemp and cow’s milk in a deep saucepan over medium-high flame.
4. Add and stir in the flour, butter and sugar.
5. Bring the mixture to a vigorous boil, then reduce flame to just a lively simmer and cook, stirring often, until a rich, thick, creamy consistency is achieved – a texture that is just a tad on the soupy side of a porridge.
6. Serve your Siemieniatka kanapiø koðë while nice and hot.
You see, even in Death,
Hemp brings us together….
Men eating bread and soup in a breadline during the Great Depression