Catholic Recipe: Horseshoe Cookies
Americans have set aside November 11 as Armed Services Day. It is fitting that on our calendar of saints the saint of the day was a military man.
St. Martin, born in Hungary of pagan parents in the fourth century, became a Christian catechumen against his parents' wishes, and when he was 15, he was forced by his father to enroll in the army. On a bitter cold day in Amiens, Martin, on horseback, met a beggar shivering and freezing in the icy wind. Instantly, he slashed his cloak in two with his sword and gave the beggar half. That night, he saw a vision of Our Lord clothed in the half cloak and heard Him say to the angels, "Martin, yet a catechumen, hath wrapped Me in this garment." Shortly afterward, Martin was baptized. He stayed in the army until he was 40, when he retired to take holy vows and live as a hermit. So great was his reputation for sanctity that he was made Bishop of Tours in 371. With enormous zeal he succeeded in converting his whole diocese, replacing pagan temples with churches.
Although St. Martin's life was austere and sober, his day was always celebrated in the Old World manner, with feasting, merriment, and thanksgiving for harvest foods. In Poland rich cookies shaped like horseshoes were baked for St. Martin's snow-white horse, on which he "comes riding through the snow" when one least expects him.
Cream butter or margarine; add sugar gradually while continuing to cream; beat until fluffy. Stir in vanilla, flour, and salt. Blend in rolled oats. Roll out about 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut in strips 6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. On ungreased cookie sheets shape strips to resemble horseshoes. Bake at 325° for 20 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove carefully, as cookies are very rich and break easily.Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965