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  • Writer's pictureMartin Castle

A meal for Maundy Thursday

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

In the Christian church today is Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, among other names) is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the washing of the feet (Maundy) and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.

It is the fifth day of Holy Week, preceded by Holy Wednesday (Spy Wednesday) and followed by Good Friday. "Maundy" comes from the Latin word mandatum, or commandment, reflecting Jesus' words "I give you a new commandment." Sadly, this year's ceremonies will not be happening in our parish churches with a congregation present.

14th century painting of the washing of the feet from on the of Altar of Sienna Cathedral

As we think about our loss of physical contact with wider family and friends I have decided to publish the angst of the nurse I mentioned yesterday after hearing of our friend, Lucy, coping (just) in her role as a front line paramedic working 16-18 hour shifts and based in Cromer.

Aleixandrea Macias - from her Facebook page

"I haven't posted a true update in days because I could not find anything positive to say. I tried since Thursday to change my perspective and be a ray of light in this dark time, but I just keep being beat down. I have never seen anything like this before, never taken care of someone that is so healthy but at the same time so deathly sick. I've been working in a makeshift ICU for days now because there were no other nurses to staff the area.

There are not enough staff even though we get new people daily, not enough experienced staff (because who on earth can be experienced for this level of sick?!), not enough supplies. I can't count the times I have heard "well we could try and do this but we don't have this". I'm not an ICU nurse at all, but neither is hardly anyone else working these units now. I've told Julio Macias 2 days in a row that I want to come home. But he talks me back off the edge each time because he knows how much I would regret leaving because at this point anybody at all helps. So I'm still here. Day 11 is done. Of course we can't share patient info, but being in an ICU setting I am keeping my same patients day after day until they die. No one has left our unit yet except in a body bag.

I've struggled to find my purpose being here, but strangely enough Julio knew why before I ever did. I have been translating Spanish for days for these people, in my own broken Spanish because anything is better than them understanding nothing. I've seen patients arrive on our unit not yet sedated or vented but in extreme respiratory distress and beyond frightened. I have explained what COVID is doing to their body, what the risks are of being intubated vs not, and I have listened as these people have called their family members for the very last time prior to being intubated. If I can leave here with anything at all, I can know that I helped give them those last moments with their family.

After they are sedated, their personal belongings are still there. Their phones still ring. That's the worst is listening to the phones ring knowing someone is calling and praying they will answer just one more time. These people are not old. They are young. Many with no medical problems. Strong people, physically fit. One who even worked 5 jobs at a time until Covid ravaged his body. This virus kills people. They all die at some point, it's just been a game of seeing how long we can keep them half alive. I feel like our efforts are futile, but I still try so hard and get so upset because I know that if it were Julio or anyone in my family laying there I would want the same done.

When their bodies finally give up fighting, we place them in a body bag. I've seen hundreds of people die as a nurse, but they are usually surrounded with loved ones or we give family time to see them to say their goodbyes. Not with COVID. There is no closure for anyone in this. I can't explain to you how bad this hurts, how real this is, and how afraid I am knowing that it could get like this in my own hometowns. I can't make you guys do anything, but I am literally begging you to listen to us healthcare workers and take this seriously. My heart hurts so bad tonight for these families who have lost people entirely too soon, for those who are sick and absolutely terrified, and for all of us who will surely have some form of PTSD after this is over."

A totally sobering post and all we can do is let them know that our thoughts are with them and do all in our power to avoid catching/spreading the disease so that these people can return to some form of normality sooner rather than later.

A meal for Maundy Thursday

Bitter Herbs Salad

6 servings

Bitter herbs symbolize the bitterness of slavery experienced by the Jews in Egypt.


2 hearts of romaine lettuce

1 small head radicchio

2 Belgian endives

90g/1½ cups arugula or watercress, washed and dried

1 stick of celery, preferably from the heart, sliced very thin

2 spring onions/scallions, chopped (optional)

Handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley

Small handful of chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (optional)

1 small garlic clove

Salt to taste

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Add to Your Grocery List


1. Wash and dry the romaine lettuce leaves and break into medium pieces. Separate the radicchio leaves and cut into medium pieces. Rinse and dry the endives and slice crosswise about 3/4 inch thick.

2. Toss together all of the greens, the celery and the onions in a large salad bowl and sprinkle the herbs over the top.

3. Skin the garlic clove, cut in half and remove green shoots. Place in a mortar and pestle with a generous pinch of salt and mash to a paste. Work in the lemon juice and then the olive oil. Taste and adjust salt. Transfer to a jar until ready to serve the salad.

4. Just before serving, shake the dressing in the jar, pour over the salad and toss.

Rosemary Flatbread


/230g/1¾ cups plain (all-purpose) flour

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary plus 2 (6-inch) sprigs (optional)

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ tsp salt

120ml/ ½ cup water

80ml/ ⅓ cup olive oil plus more for brushing

Flaky sea salt


1. Heat oven to 220°c/450°f/gasmark 6 with the rack in middle. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with olive oil.

2. Stir together flour, chopped rosemary, baking powder, and salt in a large, wide bowl. Make a well in centre, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Use your hands to gently knead dough inside the bowl 4 or 5 times, until it comes together in a semi-smooth ball.

3. Divide dough into 3 large or 6 smaller pieces and roll out one piece at a time on an unfloured counter, to about 10-inch (for larger pieces of dough) or 7-inch rounds (smaller pieces) — shape can be rustic; dough should be thin.

4. Lift flatbread onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

5. Lightly brush tops with additional oil and scatter small clusters of rosemary leaves on top (if using), pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until pale golden and browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating flatbreads if needed on the pan for even colour.

6. Let cool then break into pieces.

Tip: Do ahead: Flatbread can be made up to 4 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Lentil Soup


2 tbsp olive oil

150g/4oz finely chopped onion

25g/ ¾oz finely chopped carrot

25g/ ¾oz finely chopped celery

2 tsp salt

450g/14½oz lentils, picked and rinsed

22og /7oz peeled and chopped tomatoes

2l chicken or vegetable stock

½ tsp freshly ground coriander seeds

½ tsp freshly ground toasted cumin

½ tsp freshly ground grains of paradise (also known as melegueta pepper, guinea grains, guinea pepper, and alligator pepper – there’s a challenge for you!))


1. Place the olive oil into a large 6l pan and set over medium heat.

2. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately six to seven minutes.

3. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil.

4. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.

5. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.

Robert Macfarlane's Word of the Day is ...

"beacon - a signal fire that is a portent to communicate peril. A mark in the dark that helps us steer towards safety."

Happisburgh light - Norfolk

Beachy Head, Sussex by Eric Ravillious - if you don't know of his work, you should!


"Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi


“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”. - Julian of Norwich

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1 comentário

10 de abr. de 2020

Great blog!

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