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« on: September 09, 2011, 05:07:21 PM »

Why do we eat wheat berries to remember the dead?
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2011, 05:28:50 PM »

Lazy, so I am letting wiki speak for me. It is good enough for a start:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koliva
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2011, 08:12:15 PM »

Why do we eat wheat berries to remember the dead?
Because it's better than eating them?
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2011, 09:34:49 PM »

selam lekulekmu  Smiley
How interesting ! this tradition is also found in Ethiopia, the boiled wheat/ Nifro in amharic/ is served when people return from Funerals, the tradition is you wash your hand after coming from the funeral, there will be people waiting for you with water pitchers for that, and as you enter the tent full of mourners you are served with the boiled wheat , sometimes that will be mixed with other cereals , but the main one or the larger portion will still be the wheat, and after you eat that and a cup of coffee, you will say a prayer you say' nefs yimarilin, mengeste semayat yawarsilin'/' may the Lord have mercy on the soul, and may He allow her to enter the Heavenly Kingdom.' you say this and as you leave from the house, you say it again to the family with an addition of' egziabher yatsenachihu' / may God comfort you'. now back to the meaning of the wheat as we understand it, it has to do with death and Resurrection, as orthonorm's reference indicates the same biblical reference is used with our case also.
the wheat is also served each time a monk or a nun becomes a monastic, the funeral service is held, and the same boiled wheat is served.
Also on Holy Thursday night, the wheat is cooked to the point it becomes really really soft, and is called ' gulban'  as a memorial of what our Lord is about to do , His death and resurrection.

there is another time the wheat is served that is different, and that is in memorial of the birth of the Theotokos, the first of each month in Ethiopian calendar, but the yearly major feast on May 9 / Ginbot 1 in Ethiopian calendar. for the same reason as above.i.e. John 12:24 and 1Corinthians 15:42-44, this memorial is a celebration for the whole neighborhood, people gather together on a nearby field or an agreedupon house and they bring the wheat, and bread, etc according to their capacity and celebrate from evening into the night.
I thought it might be of interest to some as it was very interesting to me to hear this custom practiced elsewhere by orthodox Christians.

Selam to you all Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2011, 10:18:13 PM »

Does anyone ever actually enjoy this food?
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2011, 10:53:10 PM »

Does anyone ever actually enjoy this food?

Yes. It's delicious. My wife, who is not Orthodox, also loves it. (She always tried to steal it and take it home when she attended her family friend's Slava every year.)
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2011, 11:09:05 PM »


Ukrainians do the same thing.  We have a boiled wheat dish for our Panachidi (Memorial services).

It represents resurrected life.  That which seems dead (the seed) comes to life when planted in the earth, just like the body of the deceased will be "planted" in the earth and rise one day.

We also serve boiled wheat "Kootya" on Christmas Eve.  It's mixed with honey and poppy seeds.

My family loves it....me....not so much.  Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2011, 11:20:49 PM »

Does anyone ever actually enjoy this food?

Yes!!!

I tried to make it about four months ago and it was a disaster. It is trickier to make than it seems. By the time I got the hydrated wheat dry enough it started to go mildewy on me.

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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2011, 11:29:46 PM »


Why were you drying it?  Soak it overnight, then boil it.
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2011, 11:30:21 PM »

I have had it several times.  The first time, I grabbed a cup of it because I'd never had it before.  After that, I wouldn't have had any except that someone would inevitably hand it to me and I didn't want to seem rude.  Is it an acquired taste, perhaps?
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2011, 11:40:43 PM »

I have had it several times.  The first time, I grabbed a cup of it because I'd never had it before.  After that, I wouldn't have had any except that someone would inevitably hand it to me and I didn't want to seem rude.  Is it an acquired taste, perhaps?


Loved it the first time I tried it and have loved it ever since. My wife's not a big fan though.
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2011, 11:50:41 PM »

It varies cook to cook and recipe to recipe.  Many people simply don't know how to make it.

It can be quite beautiful as well...















I have had it several times.  The first time, I grabbed a cup of it because I'd never had it before.  After that, I wouldn't have had any except that someone would inevitably hand it to me and I didn't want to seem rude.  Is it an acquired taste, perhaps?
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2011, 11:59:41 PM »

Why do we eat wheat berries to remember the dead?
Because it's better than eating them?
when I first was given it, not knowing what it was, a non-Orthodox friend of mine opined that that is how the Orthodox disposed of the body.
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2011, 12:17:20 AM »

It's not exclusively made for memorials. Grandma used to make  it as  some sort of a dessert during winter . Actually, where I come from most of the time it's not "coliva" that's used for memorials, but a round, sweet bread ("colac").
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2011, 02:28:05 AM »

selam lekulekemu Smiley
Why do we eat wheat berries to remember the dead?
Because it's better than eating them?
when I first was given it, not knowing what it was, a non-Orthodox friend of mine opined that that is how the Orthodox disposed of the body.
LOL Ialmisry that is hilarious!!!

FatherGiryus wow! those are truly beautiful!  Smiley

augustin, my grandma makes it on winter too and the children like to eat it with hot sweet tea  Grin
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2011, 11:11:35 AM »

Historically, this wheat was what Romans ate as their primary food source until the Empire brough Egyptian wheat into the food supply.  Roman provinces could not grow white wheat, and the local durum was, as the name implies, too 'hard' to grind into flour.  So, the Romans boiled it into puls and ate it like porridge.
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« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2011, 02:05:16 PM »


Why were you drying it?  Soak it overnight, then boil it.


I was using a cook book that my sister recommended from Holy Trinity GOC, Charleston SC. It called for soaking overnight, changing the water and simmering for 3 hours, draining thoroughly (I probably failed here), and spreading it out on a table on top of two layers of cloth overnight to dry. My first mistake was starting on Saturday evening rather than Friday. My second was not having a table available and using a large bun pan instead. I had no time to start dealing with it on Monday morning which caused the disaster.
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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2011, 06:31:22 PM »

I've never heard of drying it like that.

I soak it, then cook it like rice (adding water as necessary until the kernels are tender).

When it's cooked mix honey with a bit of water and poppy seeds, and mix into the cooked wheat.

It can then be decorated/enhanced with slivered almonds or raisins.

Enjoy!
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« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2011, 11:16:51 PM »

Does anyone ever actually enjoy this food?

James,

I'm with you there. In 40+ years as an Eastern Christian, I've been introduced to and enjoyed an incredible variety of tastes of which my Irish-American palate was previously ignorant. This is the sole exception to 'enjoyed'. I've never been able to acquire a taste for it. I accept a bit and endure it.

Many years,

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« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2011, 12:42:12 AM »

I've another question.  Whenever I've had it, there's always been these very hard, oval, white things in the wheat.  I've no idea what they are.  They could be edible or could be stones for all I know.  Are we supposed to eat them?  If so, do you chew them (which would seem hazardous to your teeth), suck on them, swallow them whole, or what?
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« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2011, 07:14:21 AM »

I cook it as Liza does but then I spread it out on linen tea towels for a couple of hours just to make sure it isn't soggy. After that I mix in pomegranate gems and a little orange-blossom honey and decorate the top with powdered sugar, almonds, star-anise flowers (or something similarly pretty) and a few more of the gems. Except when I make it for one particular friend who loved pink - she gets sugared almonds  Smiley

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« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2011, 07:19:23 AM »

The hard white things are made of sugar - like sugared almonds wuthout the almonds. There are also silver balls and other shapes, which are the same kind of hard sugar, but with an edible silver coating. Hate 'em.

Kollyva, according to how I was taught by a Greek lady in her seventies at the time: Boiled wheat (half an hour in the pressure cooker if you have one, no need to pre-soak the wheat), drained and spread out over a cloth in a shallow tray to dry for an hour or so; mixed with toasted sesame seeds (dry-fried), toasted breadcrumbs, raisins, a dash of cinnamon, chopped toasted almonds, and, if available, pomegranate seeds. Add only enough powdered sugar to give a hint of sweetness. Sometimes there's no need for any sugar at all if the dried fruit and pomegranate are sweet enough.

Delicious!
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« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2011, 10:26:57 AM »

Does anyone ever actually enjoy this food?

Absolutely. It's delicious - a GOA Bishop showed me how to make it. He used tons of confectioners sugar and decorated it with a cross of almonds.
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« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2011, 10:29:28 AM »

I made kollyva this weekend for the 9-11 Trisagion.  The recipe is simple: bring the wheat to a boil, then let sit for 4 hours in the hot water.  Boil a second time, drain, add sugar & spices, then raisins and chopped nuts.  Scoop into a pan, press down, then flatten the top with plastic wrap.  Sift chick pea flour over the top, press smooth, then sift powered sugar, smooth again, then decordate.

The chick pea flour acts as a moisture barrier so the sugar does not dissolve.  I learned that years ago from an 'old pro.'  That way you don't have to dry the wheat on towels or any of that, and it is moist and delicious, while preserving the decorations on top.
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« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2011, 10:35:52 AM »

Does anyone ever actually enjoy this food?

phew...i've yet to meet one in person.
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« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2011, 11:05:40 AM »

Does anyone ever actually enjoy this food?

Yes, I have enjoyed it all of my life. I've got to admit though that younger folks, particularly converts, do not know how to prepare it properly. I think the reason for this lies in the fact that, cradles have seen it prepared, may be helped along, and most importantly know how it should taste. So, when it is time to prepare some, they do not do it by following a printed recipe. My advice to converts is to prepare kolyva several times a year, volunteer to help a cradle (older) person prepare it,and use good ingredients.
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« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2011, 11:19:41 AM »

Good advice.  I actaully have two small tubs in the fridge that didn't fit onto my platter for the Trisagion, so I have a delicious breakfast for the next few days.  Healthy, too!

Does anyone ever actually enjoy this food?

Yes, I have enjoyed it all of my life. I've got to admit though that younger folks, particularly converts, do not know how to prepare it properly. I think the reason for this lies in the fact that, cradles have seen it prepared, may be helped along, and most importantly know how it should taste. So, when it is time to prepare some, they do not do it by following a printed recipe. My advice to converts is to prepare kolyva several times a year, volunteer to help a cradle (older) person prepare it,and use good ingredients.
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« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2011, 11:34:38 AM »

Does anyone ever actually enjoy this food?
YES! Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2011, 01:05:25 PM »

Where does one buy the wheat?  What brand?

Also those little silver balls...are they available in the US?
My mother used to always use those to decorate the white icing on Christmas cakes ( this was in England, nothing to with Orthodoxy...more an English custom)
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« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2011, 03:07:32 PM »

your guy's must taste alot better than our's then...lol
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« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2011, 03:33:40 PM »

i got some in a greek orthodox church, with lots of pomegranate in it.
i have never liked pomegranate and am intolerant to wheat (pain/bloating) so i didn't manage to finish it, i am sorry to say.
i think if it didn't contain pomegranate and wheat i would like it.
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« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2011, 03:42:29 PM »

I always taste alot of incense in it...anyone else?
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« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2011, 04:54:28 PM »

i got some in a greek orthodox church, with lots of pomegranate in it.
i have never liked pomegranate and am intolerant to wheat (pain/bloating) so i didn't manage to finish it, i am sorry to say.
i think if it didn't contain pomegranate and wheat i would like it.
 Wink
You CANNOT be Coptic Orthodox and hate pomegranate. Shame on you. Wink

And Ortho_cat, sounds like a problem I definitely wouldn't have!
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« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2011, 05:03:03 PM »

hey, i have eaten fisikh!
(literally is semi-decomposed fish which has been in a mix of oil and chili for several months, eaten by muslim and Christian egyptians on easter monday which is usually a national holiday from pagan times).
if you eat the fisikh, you are not required to eat anything else dodgy!
 Wink

anyway i managed to eat half of it a bit at a time over a week, but after about 10 days it smelt a bit dodgy (not as bad as the fisikh, i admit) and i was worried about having a bowel problem so i didn't finish it.
sorry!
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