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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Christmas Food

The genesis of mince pies goes back to the Middle East in the 13th Century. European crusaders returning to their homelands brought recipes that included meats, fruits and spices - which inspired the idea for mince pies.

The cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg ingredients were included to represent the gifts given to Jesus by the three Eastern Kings.

Tudor mince pies had 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and the apostles and also mutton to represent the shepherds.

In England a spicy pottage had been developed by the sixteenth century whereby wheat was boiled in water until it turned into a gruel, milk, currants and other dried fruit were stirred in, then egg yolks and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg were added. Finally, the mixture was cooked into a stiff pudding. When eaten at Christmas some people were beginning to refer to it as Christmas pudding.

Originally a goose or a boar were eaten on Christmas day. Goose clubs were popular with working-class Victorian Londoners, who paid a few pence a week towards the purchase of their Christmas goose.

As the 19th century progressed the goose fell down in the pecking order, as it were, and the turkey became the most popular Christmas bird in many countries.

The use of turkey to mean a bad film or play comes from a 19th century American habit of serving bad turkeys between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The average British Christmas dinner with all the trimmings contains 957 calories.

In Japan, it is a Christmas tradition to order Kentucky Fried Chicken. This particular unusual festive practice dates back to the 1970s when a customer at the chain’s Aoyama store observed that, in a land where it was difficult to get hold of the customary turkey for a celebratory dinner, fried chicken was the next best thing. The KFC corporate offices got wind of the  idea and the company started a huge advertising campaign in Japan called “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) in 1974, which was ludicrously popular.

In Slovakia, just before dinner, the head of the family traditionally takes a spoonful of food and throws it at the ceiling. Usually it’s Loksa, a traditional Christmas dish made from poppy seed filling, bread and water.

The inhabitants of Greenland traditionally eat “kivack” on Christmas. It’s the raw flesh of 500 auk birds wrapped in sealskin that has been placed under a rock to ferment for seven months.

in India, plum cake is served around the time of the Christmas holiday season, and may have additional ingredients such as rum or brandy.

Sources Food For Thought by Ed Pearce,, International Business Times, Daily Express

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