Winter Solstice cooking

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by koukouvagia, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I got so excited to see a thread on a new history forum then I realized that the thread is a decade old.  Oh well.

    It did get me thinking though that I have a bit more time on my hands this holiday season and I'd like to do some research on traditional foods from the holiday season.  I'd like to make a yule log and maybe a spiced Wassail.  If anyone has any insight into  Winter Solstice traditional foods please help.
     
  2. ishbel

    ishbel

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    I don't call them Solstice recipes, but I make things at Christmas and Hogmanay using really old recipes  -  mulled wine or mulled cider (using alcoholic cider) which I serve to local carol singers who come round the doors in the next couple of weeks.  I give them hot mulled wine or cider and the children in the choirs get spiced apple juice - I also make mince-pies to go  with the drinks. 

    I make my own Christmas puds and christmas cakes, Black bun and one or two bouche de noel for those who don't like fruity recipes!
     
  3. siduri

    siduri

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    How about Swedish santa lucia rolls?  they date back, at least in shape, to fertility and sun symbols of the vikings i think.  They're very nice, too, sweetish roles (sweetish swedish rolls/img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif) with raisins, saffron to make them yellow, and brushed with egg yolk.  I can dig up my recipe if you want. 
     
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  4. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Ishbel, the yule log is I believe a bouche de noel and mulled wine is wassail.  Care to share a recipe for that?  How I wish we had door to door caroling here!  Don't get me wrong, NYC is beautiful at Christmas time but more so in a commercial way.  I think there is carol walk in the west village though, I'll have to dig that information up for us to do this year.

    Siduri, I'd like to find some savoury recipes.  I plan on hosting a winter solstice dinner on Dec. 22.  Sweets are nice but I want to provide dinner.
     
  5. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Check out this book, KK: http://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9781567180442  for ideas.

    And keep in mind that, while much of Christmas did grow out of the Pagan Winter Solstice celebration (primarily Celtic and German-pagan), WS is not Christmas. The foods and purpose are rather different.

    Virtually every society that worshipped earth gods rather than sky gods, or which gave the earth gods dominance, celebrated the Winter Solstice. So there's all sorts of culinary room for such a celebration. This would, btw, have include pre-Christian Krete until Theaseus (sp?) changed many of the rituals. So, with a little research, you could combine the solstice celebration with a taste of home.
     
  6. ntosaj

    ntosaj

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    A Danish friend of mine whom I met when he came over on exchange 4 years ago or so taught me how to make risalamande (Danish Rice Pudding), it's awfully simple and totally delightful! I can post a recipe of it if anyone is interested! In my family a few classics too are apfelstrudel, some bastardization of a German nut-cake that my non-German mum came up with while trying to decipher my paternal grandmother's cookbooks and fruit cake soaked in rum which never fails to set off all the carbon monoxide alarms while baking (we don't quite know why).

    Btw that is an interesting spelling of buche de Noel, as bouche is 'mouth/maw/opening of some sort' in French. I was wondering have you always spelled it like that where you are? I'd be interested in seeing what happened historically to alter the traditional spelling. (We are talking about Yule Logs right?)
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    It's an interesting topic, what went on in pre-Christian Krete I haven't the first clue.  Must research.

    A winter solstice holiday party is being conjured up in my mine.  Hubby is hesitant but I'll have no problem convincing him.  I'm thinking finger foods.  I'll let anyone know how the celebration will take shape, in the meantime I'm open to recipes for food and drink and suggestions on activities.
     
  8. ishbel

    ishbel

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    I'll PM you my mulled wine recipe in the next day or so,KK.
     
  9. siduri

    siduri

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    Ishbel, I thought wassail was different from mulled wine.  I have a recipe, i think it's in joy of cooking, that calls for beer and wine, spices, sugar, baked apples and if i'm not mistaken egg (i remember making it once and it was cloudy, but not sure it's egg - i'd imagine the egg would curdle in the hot liquid).  I do think the beer and the baked apples are traditional.  I wouldn't use joy of cooking as the last word in british traditions, but i'm assuming it came from somewhere. 

    Basically i think from what i understand, the solstice is the time for urging the sun to come back, and the lucia rolls are yellow and have shapes some of which seem like suns.  (others are more like fertility symbols).  Yule is full of fire and sun symbols and things coming back to life - yay, the sun didn;t go away, and yet again the days have become longer, thank the gods.  Let's celebrate.  Yule log burning for 12 days, candles, trees that burst into bloom with colored things on them. 

    By the way, do they still put a tree on top of a house or building in construction in the states (or elsewhere?)  I read that that was a holdover from a pagan usage whereby the builders of a house, traditionally made of wood, is making some homage to the tree and asking for protection for the people building it.  I remember seeing a christmas tree on the top of skyscrapers that were being built, back when i still lived in the states.  I love these kinds of remnants of history. 
     
  10. ishbel

    ishbel

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    Siduri

    The mulled wine is an echo of the Wassailling that was common all over the British isles in history!  I remember attending a wassail in an apple orchard near Leominster when I lived in the West Country....   it was a freezing cold night and we all carried flaming torches into the orchards where the trees were 'fed' with toasted bread and some of the wassail cup in order to ensure plentiful supplies of apples for the next year's cider harvest.

    I did a search and found this:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/jan/21/wassailing-cider-apple-orchard
     
  11. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Great.
     
  12. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    According to the American Heritage Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through The Ages, "wassail" simply meant "be well," when Anglo-Saxons drank to each other's health. Later it became associated with the Christmas season, and cam to connote caroling and revelry. Here's their recipe. Although it makes a lot, keep in mind wassail is drunk on all 12 days of Christmas:

    Wassail Bowl

    18 crab apples, cored

    2 1/2 cups brown sugar

    3 quarts ale

    1 bottle sweet sherry

    5 slices fresh ginger root or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger

    1 tsp nutmeg

    1/2 tsp powdered cloves

    6 eggs, separated

    1 cup cognac, heated

    10 slices butterd toast, cut in quarters

    Sprinkle apples with one half cup brown sugar; bake in a preheated 400F oven for about 30 minutes. Heat ale, sherry, and spices in a large saucpan. Beat egg yolks until thick. Beat egg whites until very stiff and fold thououghly into the yolks. Pour the ale mixture into the eggs in a thin stream, beating hard. Put the hot apples in a heated bowl, add ale-egg mixture and cognac. Serve3 immediately in mugs. Pass toast to dip or float in mugs. Makes 18 drinks.
     
  13. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    Ulla Pool ( Scottish Highlands ) Fresh Salmon could be considered as well as the Smoked variety.   

    *** See www.ullapool.com.uk

    Another source of recipes, could be New England, especially Salem, Massachusetts.  

    Margcata.
     
  14. durangojo

    durangojo

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    while not traditional solstice food or even food, i think that good drinks play such a very special role in a party.....

    we are a boozy lot that like our cocktails and i think that cocktails   have once again become a sign of the good life....so i'm thinking retro classics....

    ~ manhattans, (stirred please) since you live in the big apple

    ~ negronis....great  festive color

    ~ moscow mule, cuz i like vodka...

    whatever you serve, make sure it's great!!!!

    have a great party...what you got so far?

    joey
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  15. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I would think Mead and Metheglin more appropiate to the Solstice, Joey.
     
  16. siduri

    siduri

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    Ok, KY, what is metheglin?  Mead is a fermented honey drink but i never heard of the other. 
     
  17. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    There were several fermented honey drinks, Siduri. Mead is only the best known of them. Near as I can tell there are only subtle differences between these two, having to do with how much lemon and ginger are added to the honey/water mix. Sometimes metheglin was flavored with herbs and spices as well.

    For instance, compare these two:

    To Make Metheglin

    Take a quart of honey and 6 quarts of water, let it boyle ye third part away, and boyle with it 3 races of ginger. when it is cold, put it in a pot which hath a spicket, & put yeast into it & let it stand 3 days, then bottle it up and put into ye bottles a little leamon & a stick of cinnamon & a few raysons of ye sun. Let it be a fortnight before you drink it.

    That's from the so-called Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery, actually a Custis-Lee family heirloom dating from about 1645.

    On the other hand, from the 1796 edition of Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy:

    How To Make Mead

    Take ten gallons of water, and two gallons of honey, a handful of raced ginger; then take two lemons, cut them in pieces, and put them in it, boil it veyr well, keep it skimming; let it stand all night in the same vessel ou boil it in, the next morning barrel it up, with two or three spoonfuls of good yeast. About three weeks or a month after, you may bottle it.

    Yet another version, called Cider Royal, combines cider with honey and water.
     
  18. durangojo

    durangojo

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    yeah i know ky, i just don't like mead all that much and never heard of metheglin.....oh, not appropriate behavior huh? well, as you know i'm not one to color inside the lines..but cheers with whatever we bend elbows with!

    joey
     
  19. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    A squat, heavy glass with two inches of Woodford Reserve will do me just fine, m'darlin'.

    That other stuff: mead, and Manhattens, and Moscow Mules (whatever they may be). That's for folk who need an excuse to tip a toddy---which never described thee and me.
     
  20. durangojo

    durangojo

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    just a guess that 'woodford reserve' would be a kentucky gentlemen's bourbon, right? of course!    fyi... a 'moscow mule' is very chilled good vodka, a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice and ginger beer...all over ice... ginger beer is  kinda solsticey doncha think?

    joey
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011