Where Does Your Favourite Christmas Food Come From?

Where Does Your Favourite Christmas Food Come From?

All I’ve heard people say this year is how quickly Christmas seems to start after summer and Halloween pass us by. I absolutely love Christmas so it doesn’t bother me, but you’ll always get a few scrooges who moan about it. But one thing even the most Grinch-like person can always agree with Christmas-lovers on is the Christmas food. I mean, a sausage wrapped in bacon though? A CAKE with loads of alcohol in it? GINGERBREAD. Making a gingerbread house  is possibly the most fun thing to do at Christmas, ever. Do you ever stop to wonder, though, where it all came from? I mean, it certainly wasn’t Jesus who suggested all going out buying gifts and eating Turkey on his birthday, so where DO Christmas food traditions come from? (If you are unsure of what classes as classic Christmas food, this essential book by the Queen Delia Smith, should steer you right. I think we have owned this since I was born).



Why do we eat Turkey at Christmas?

Christmas Food

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I’m very much one for calling a spade a spade. Let’s be honest: turkey really isn’t all that is it? It’s like the dryer, stringier cousin of chicken and most people are only willing to give it a second look because it’s Christmas food. If you are an avid Muppets Christmas Carol fan like me you’ll notice goose was pretty traditional in the Victorian times, then people started to cook turkey. Turkeys as animals were first brought to the UK in the 1520s. In 1573 a farmer observed a lot of households had them for Christmas dinner. Then in 1615 a book called “The English Housewife” the author made it pretty clear turkeys were being eaten at Christmas. It really was Charles Dickens that made it popular though. You know when Meghan Markle wears something and it sells out? Well this is kinda what happened with turkey.

A Christmas Carol was published in 1873 and turkey for Christmas became the “in thing”. Prince Albert also declared his love for turkey and popularised it. Possibly the first case of influencer marketing ever. It’s actually only us and the US, New Zealand and Canada that have it on Christmas day. Turkey isn’t really eaten at Christmas anywhere else in Europe. 145 years we’ve been eating the bloody things and we still can’t come up with anything good to do with the left over turkey from Christmas day, but here are a few ideas anyway.  Turkey is pretty much the staple of any Christmas day menu, but quite a few places are catching on to vegetarianism now as well.



Why do we eat pigs in Blankets at Christmas?

Christmas Food

(This image was sourced from royalty-free website, Pixabay).

Pigs in blankets are how we refer to sausages wrapped in bacon in the UK, but this is what other countries call a sausage wrapped in pastry. (Because “sausage roll” makes too much sense, evidently). It’s hard to believe that this bit of absolute food-wizardry came from a nation of people stupid enough to vote Trump as their President, but they really are responsible for pigs in blankets. The first recorded instance of pigs in blankets was in Betty Crocker’s “Cooking For Kids”. No one really seems to be able to agree where they came from before this or if it is correct to wrap them in bacon or pastry. But old Betty got the recipe from somewhere because she clearly says how good it is in her book. There’s even less information kicking about regarding why we eat them at Christmas. This seems to be limited to the UK though. Americans eat them wrapped in pastry for breakfast, and pigs in blanket day is April 24th, which is nowhere near Christmas. We’ll just have to chalk this one up as a delicious mystery. They are such a popular dish now, you can even get them for your pet.



Why do we eat Mince Pies at Christmas?

Christmas Food

(This image was sourced from royalty-free website, Pixabay).

Thank heavens we have finally found a UK Christmas food that actually originated in the UK. Mince pies are the most historic Christmas food you will find in the UK. When the returned European Crusaders came back from the Holy Land, they had a new, Middle Eastern method of cooking of adding meat with fruit and spices to show everyone. If you think meat in a normal mince pie sounds gross, you should hear what eat. Original mince pies often contained rabbit and pigeon. Guess rabbits and pigeons were not crazy about Christmas food season. The became “Christmas Pye” for a while and were oblong shaped to remind us of Jesus’s cradle. Because the fruit and spices were prepared for the mince pies months in advance, by the time the Victorian times had swung by the Victorians the meat started becoming left out. It would seem the following generations all stuck to the sweet mince pie recipe and we’re all happier for it. TOP TIP. I just found out Amazon do shortbread mince pies.



Why do we eat Christmas Pudding at Christmas?

Christmas Food

(This image was sourced from royalty-free website, Pexels).

Like mince pies, Christmas pudding is also a tradition that dates back to the 14th century and was a tradition that also started in the UK. Originally it was a porridge dish we would have had beef and mutton in it. I know, British people are gross, right? It was actually eaten as a “fasting meal”.It used to be called Frumenty and by the 1600s it had a couple of extra ingredients added in. Christmas pudding had become more of a plum pudding and beer was starting to gain popularity as an ingredient. In 1714 King George declared it as a Christmas food. Doesn’t it sound like being King is a bit of a breeze though? Walk in, declare some stuff Christmas food, eat, sleep, repeat. If you want to know, the time when you are supposed to make your Christmas pudding is the Sunday before advent. Making a Christmas pudding yourself is a brilliant way to sneak in more alcohol than usual.

Why do we eat Gingerbread at Christmas

Christmas Food

(This image was sourced from royalty-free website, Pexels).

Gingerbread has been synonymous with Christmas since the 1800s, way before Costa introduced their Gingerbread latte. Gingerbread itself hails from Medieval times. Ginger has always been known for the medicinal properties it has to settle the stomach. The belief that spices warm you up during the winter made Gingerbread popular from the 13th century onwards, but it wasn’t until Hansel & Gretel was written in the 1800s that Gingerbread houses become a “thing”. Gingerbread making was a skilled trade, so as soon as the story came out with the children finding an “edible house made of bread”, bakers started to copy the story and make elaborate Gingerbread houses. As Gingerbread was already a popular gift to give on special occasions, Gingerbread houses became a Christmas tradition.

 

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