Christmas Food & Drinks
Food and drink have always been part of the Winter Solstice festivals. "wassail bowl" the traditional food is basically a recipe that consist of a toast. The word has its origin from Saxon phrase "wes hal" which means good health or be whole. The size of the bowl is that of cauldron filled with a mixture of cider, brandy, ale, spices and is drunk hot. According to tradition the wassail bowl is kept hung over a burning Yule log and the contents are cooked. An age-old brew of the wassail bowl is a punch called "Lambswool", made of ale, roasted apples, sugar or honey, eggs cream and pieces of toasted bread. These days our choice of alcohol is wide and varied. Some Christmas favorites are mulled wine and egg nog. Today the Christmas meal is very different and include Roast Ham, Roast Beef, Roast Pork and Roast Turkey. Turkey is however a newcomer and its origin can be traced down to Europe from North America in about 1650. Prior to turkey, traditional Christmas fare included roast swan, goose, capons, pheasants and peacocks. A roast boar's head was considered a special treat for the occassion. Nowadays roasted meats are served with seasonal vegetables and a variety of fruit sauces ranging from apple, prunes ,apricots to cranberries. Frumenty which is another traditional meal is prepared with grains of wheat, boiled up into a broth seasoned with crushed almonds, milk and egg yolks. It was sometimes eaten with honey on Christmas morning but usually as sauce served with mutton or venison. Plum porridge or plum pottage is derived from frumenty and was essentially a thick soup made by boiling up portions of beef or mutton with dried prunes or plums, raisins, currants, bread crumbs and seasoned with spices and wine.
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