Fit for a Queen
The Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary is Nov. 17. Renowned for her grace, beauty, generosity and great faith, she died at age 24 in 1231 after dedicating her life to service to the poor.
Over the centuries, Elizabeth, the patron saint of bakers, has been the subject of many paintings by great artists who often focused not only on her legendary beauty, but on a signature episode in her life. In this charming story, the youthful royal bride is discovered by her husband, King Ludwig, as she is taking loaves of bread to the poor. Tradition has it that she concealed the loaves in her basket because she preferred to keep her good works a secret.
When Ludwig asked her to open the basket, he found it contained roses instead of bread.
This legend inspired the custom of baking bread on St. Elizabeth’s Day and delivering it to neighbors for supper. Children were encouraged to bundle up, get their flashlights and, taking notes explaining the custom, give the bread away just as Elizabeth had done – for the love of Christ.
That sounds like a terrific and unexpected way to convey some Christian joy in the runup to Thanksgiving. And since this is the season of apples in New Jersey, a recipe for apple quick bread might be just the ticket. This recipe yields two loaves – one to keep and one, in the best tradition of Elizabeth, to give away.
St. Elizabeth’s Bread
Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour; 2 tsp cinnamon; 1 tsp baking soda; ½ tsp baking powder; ½ tsp salt; ½ cup vegetable oil; 2 cups sugar; 2 eggs, beaten; ½ teaspoon vanilla; 2 cups apples – peeled, cored and coarsely chopped; 1 cup broken walnuts.
Directions: In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, place oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and apples. Stir into flour mixture. Add walnuts and mix. Divide mixture between two greased 8 inch bread pans and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cool for ten minutes on wire rack before removing from pan.