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A Closer Look at Your Christmas Ham

HamHam is one of the traditional main dishes served at Christmas, and it is fascinating to take a closer look at both the history of this favorite piece of meat and the different ways of preparing it.

In The Reluctant Gourmet G. Stephen Jones writes about its origins: …Apparently, serving ham arises from the pre-Christian Norse tradition of killing a boar and serving it to honor Freya, one of the Norse Gods. In AD times, St. Stephen, whose feast day is December 26th, is often depicted as serving a boar’s head as an offering. And, as often happens when diverse traditions converge around the feasting table: Christmas ham was born…” [Read more…]

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A Cake Just for Christmas – Buche de Noel – Yule log

Yule LogThe rich yet delicate bûche de Noël (Yule log) is one of those desserts that make a frequent appearance around Christmas, and it is most popular in France and in places that bear French influence. The bûche de Noël consists of a sponge cake rolled to look like a log and iced with chocolate buttercream or ganache.

Most Yule logs will be presented so that they look like tree limbs that have been chopped off, and some bakers will even cut off a portion of the roll and arrange it to make it look as if the limb has a bit of a branch attached to it. Cake decorators take great pains to create a bark like effect on the log’s icing, and it is not unusual to see the cake garnished with white frosting or powdered sugar to resemble snow. [Read more…]

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Eggnog – A Drink for Christmas Fellowship

EggnogApart from the celebratory glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve, eggnog is the other drink that deserves a traditional place during the holidays. To the uninitiated, eggnog can seem like a strange drink; it is a rather sweet concoction that combines milk, cream, whipped cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and spirits.  For many, however, frothy eggnog served in a punchbowl represents the fellowship that friends and family enjoy every time the Yuletide season comes around.

The Eggnog Tradition

Eggnog is traditionally served in Canada during the Christmas season; in the United States some kitchens begin serving it from Thanksgiving till New Year. Although not all food historians agree on exactly where and when the tradition began, most concur that today’s drink probably had its beginnings in the medieval British drink called “posset”. This was an ale-like beverage commonly taken with eggs, and it was used mainly used for toasts. [Read more…]

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