Twelve Traditions of Christmas, Pt 5 – Mince Pies/Turkey and Stockings

Happy Christmas to my followers and anyone who happens across this post in the next few days!  I hope you all have a lovely festive season!

Mince Pies & Turkey

I’m sure many of you have already enjoyed the odd Mince Pie or three already and looking forward to more.  I am not a mince pie fan, I’m not really a fan of traditional Christmas food in general really, bah humbug!

Although I am a roast dinner fan, I prefer to have something other than turkey.  Too dry!  Although I do know that there are way of cooking it which doesn’t leave it dry.  I’m still not convinced by it though.  I prefer to eat Duck and Lamb with my christmas dinner.  What about you?

I thought I would do a little research in to how traditional Christmas food became, well, traditional!  Why mince pies?  turkeys?

First of all I thought I would search word press for some recipes and ways to cook turkey.  Partly research, partly to see if I could find anything that would change my mind about these foods.

Here is the first mince pie recipe I came across.  They look fab, and if I ate chocolate (I don’t.  Yes, I know I’m strange!) I would definitely be trying the chocolate versions from this post!

Mince Pies have been around for centuries, evolving over that time in to the pie we know today.  The pies, originally known as Christmas Pye, started life as a large dish filled with meat and fruit, peel and sugar.  The shape of these dishes were thought to resemble Jesus’ cradle, a miniature doll would be placed on top of the pie.

When mediaeval crusaders returned from their crusading duties they brought spices back with them.  The pies were gradually infused with these new spices and the meat in them became less prominent until it disappeared completely.  The size of the pies gradually became smaller too.

My tasty turkey research took me to this turkey recipe.  It sounds lovely, especially the mention of garlic and truffle butter! It definitely has the potential to change my mind!

Apparently turkey (which, fact fans, originate from Mexico!) became a part of the traditional christmas table around the 1950’s.  Before the 195o’s it was seen as a luxury but began to go down in price, coinciding with freezers and fridges also becoming widely used in homes.

Pre 1950’s traditional christmas birds included swan, pheasant and peacocks. If anyone was feeling particularly frivolous they might also perhaps have indulged in a roast boars head complete with holly and fruit for decoration!

Stockings

Change of subject..Stockings.  Why is traditional for us to have stockings (or pillow cases!) with little extra (and very useful..) presents in?  Ok, I admit it, I still get one (in the form of the aforementioned pillow case!).  This is because I still want one and, as I said, they are usually full of a few very useful things. Yes, I am almost 40!

My parents also get a few stocking type presents too.  I think everyone should have one whatever age.  I have just found this post about stockings which proves my point, yay!

No-one is completely sure how the tradition of the stocking came about.  However, the most popular story is about a poor nobleman who feared his daughters would never marry because he had no money, which meant they could not provide dowries.

It is said that one night the daughters had washed their stockings and hung them over their fireplace to dry them.  It so happened that St Nicholas was in town that day and he heard about the family.  He wandered past their house and saw the stockings hanging by the fire.

It was then that he decided, on the spur of the moment, to throw three bags of gold he was carrying down the family chimney.  It just so happens that these bags of gold fell in each stocking, the women woke the next morning to find they had the money needed for marriage.

So now you know!

Have fun!

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Filed under Customs and Traditions, Food and Drink, History

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