Things of Winter Beauty and Wonder: Advent Day Twenty Two

Things of Winter Beauty and Wonder: Advent Day Twenty Two

Day Twenty Two

Christmas food traditions

Every country has its seasonal specialities for food and drink. We’re tending to lose some of them because almost everything can be grown somewhere and shipped to us (at significant costs) so the seasonal food traditions are becoming blurred now. When you can have crisp, fresh apples any day of the year (often shipped from Chile) people don’t get excited about the arrival of the first Coxes from our own orchards.

Traditional foods for this country have changed, and not so subtly, over the centuries. At one time, the standard Christmas dinner was a big haunch of beef; later, goose, and now it tends to be turkey. Turkey is high in tryptophan, which is a good reason why people fall asleep after Christmas dinner as this is used in health supplements for insomnia and sleep problems.

Certain delicacies are only on sale in the shops at this time of year; our local deli has already run out of marzipan stollen. My late father-in-law loved mince pies so much that my mother-in-law used to make them all year round, from scratch. She made the best mince pies I’ve ever tasted, serving them hot, the pastry lids flipped up to insert a dollop of brandy butter before sticking the lid down and putting them in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter and crisp up the pastry.

I’m not a huge fan of mince pies myself; I can take them or leave them, but I like the history of them. It’s a myth that they were once banned by law (during the Commonwealth, while this country was a republic under Cromwell) but they were seen as idolatrous and frivolous by the Puritans. All the more reason in my mind to keep the tradition going! If you follow the two links, you can find out more of the history of the humble mince pie, and an original recipe for the savoury type that my ancestors enjoyed.     

Fortune Cookies

We had a Chinese takeaway last night, slightly delayed from the night before, and it came with fortune cookies.

I love fortune cookies. They make me smile because of the incongruous, mistranslated English and the weird things they say.

But last night they were each strangely appropriate to each of us.

My daughter(who is 20) got one that said, Learn from the mistakes of others.

My husband(who is an analytical chemical consultant and a priest to boot) got, Your mentality is alert, practical and analytical.

And mine was, Faith will move mountains.

I liked that. Not Faith CAN move mountains, but Faith WILL move mountains. In light of a project I am about to launch, this was a good omen.

Watch this space!