Christmas food with all the trimmings

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Monday, 17 December 2007.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • In Victorian England, turkeys were popular for Christmas dinners. Some of the birds were raised in Norfolk and taken to market in London. To get them to London, the turkeys were supplied with boots made of sacking or leather. The turkeys were walked to market. The boots protected their feet from the frozen mud of the road. Boots were not used for geese: instead, their feet were protected with a covering of tar.
  • At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served “endored”. This meat the flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter. In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.
  • A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.
  • In Britain, eating mince pies at Christmas dates back to the 16th century. It is still believed that to eat a mince pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas will bring happy months in the year to follow.
  • It is a British Christmas tradition that a wish made while mixing the Christmas pudding will come true only if the ingredients are stirred in a clockwise direction.
  • In many households, part of the fun of eating Christmas pudding is finding a trinket that predicts your fortune for the coming year. For instance, finding a coin means you will become wealthy, a button means you will remain a bachelor, a ring means you will get married; while a thimble predicts spinsterhood. The idea of hiding something in the pudding comes from the tradition in the Middle Ages of hiding a bean in the cake that was served on Twelfth Night. Whoever found the bean became “king” for the rest of the night.
  • There are 12 courses in the Ukrainian Christmas eve supper. According to the Christian tradition, each course is dedicated to one of Christ’s apostles. A family’s youngest child watches thru the window for the evening star to appear, a signal that the feast can begin.
  • The table for Christmas Eve dinner in the Ukraine is set with two tablecloths: one for the ancestors of the family, the other for the living members. In pagan times, ancestors were believed to be benevolent spirits who, when shown respect, brought good fortune.
  • In Armenia, the traditional Christmas Eve meal consists of fried fish, lettuce and spinach. The meal is traditionally eaten after the Christmas Eve service, in commemoration of the supper eaten by Mary on the evening before Christ’s birth.

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