Monday, January 6, 2014

Carl Sandburg and Epiphany Cake

American poet Carl Sandburg was also a folklorist, novelist and historian. Carl Sandburg was born on January 6, 1878, in Galesburg, Illinois. He fought in the Spanish-American War. In 1913, he moved to Chicago to work as a journalist. In 1914, his poetry was published in Poetry magazine. His well-received free verse poetry focused on American workers. 

In the twenties, he started some of his most ambitious projects, including his study of Abraham Lincoln. From childhood, Sandburg loved and admired the legacy of President Lincoln. For thirty years he sought out and collected material, and gradually began the writing of the six-volume definitive biography of the former president. The twenties also saw Sandburg's collections of American folklore, the ballads in The American Songbag and The New American Songbag (1950), and books for children. These later volumes contained pieces collected from brief tours across America which Sandburg took each year, playing his banjo or guitar, singing folk-songs, and reciting poems.

He won a Pulitzer Prize for his book Abraham Lincoln : The War Years work and a second Pulitzer Prize for his Complete Poems in 1950. His final volumes of verse were Harvest Poems, 1910-1960 (1960) and Honey and Salt (1963). Carl Sandburg died in 1967.

"Arithmetic"  was one of my favorite Sandburg poems to share  in the classroom.
by Carl Sandburg

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
Arithmetic tell you how many you lose or win if you know how
many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven -- or five
six bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
you can look out of the window and see the blue sky -- or the
answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
and see how it comes out this time.
If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger
and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you
what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.
Arithmetic is where you have to multiply -- and you carry the
multiplication table in your head and hope you won't lose it.
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you
eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the
other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody
offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say
Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she
gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is
better in arithmetic, you or your mother? 
Epiphany is celebrated on January 6, and celebrates the Magi’s visit to the Christ Child. 
The traditional King Cake  is a 
a cinnamon-roll like cake with sugary icing using traditional Mardi Gras colored sprinkles on the outside. The baby figurine is seen in the middle of the roll

The traditional trinket found in the cake is a bean,  still seen in some European and Mexican traditions but rare in U.S. king cakes. The person who finds the bean is officially crowned “The King of the Feast” or “The King of Epiphany” and has the honor of making the Epiphany cake the following year. But there are other trinkets with different meanings/blessings that can be used. These trinkets can be found at a craft store.
Dime – Wealth
Ring – Church’s blessings
Thimble – Increased industry
Button – Increased spiritual knowledge
Baby – Will know Jesus more
Shoe – Will walk in the ways of the Lord
Fruit – Reap the fruit of Christian Living

But traditionally the cake has a small plastic baby, said to represent Baby Jesus inside (or sometimes placed underneath), and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations.

The following link is an easy shortcut from Pillsbury to make your own mini Kings Cake
or check out Ree Drummond's directions on baking an Epiphany cake.

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