It won’t be Christmas without a sumptuous spread of the traditional feast on the table such as the roasted turkey (or other type of poultry), oven-baked ham, fruitcake, candy canes, pies, and a lot more. Know the facts behind Christmas foods that may either make you amazed or maybe even make you re-consider your holiday menu (yes, some of them are quite wacky):
Love it or hate it, the fruitcake will always be a classic holiday fare. We know that a lot of you aren’t too shy to say you don’t like fruitcake, and if you have ever received one as a Christmas present, you just let it rot inside the fridge. But you know that it just doesn’t rot too quickly, thanks to the combination of sugar and alcohol that help preserve the cake for a long time.
Actually, fruitcakes were baked and traditionally meant to be eaten a year later for the start of the harvest season. It was for good luck.
2. Candy canes
According to legend, candy canes first appeared around the mid-17th century in Cologne, Germany. The cathedral’s choirmaster began handing out candies (which were shaped like a shepherd’s crook) to the children in order to keep them quiet during the church’s creche scene.
3. Sugar plums
When you hear the words “sugar plums,” you might not have guessed what it’s made of, right? But during the 17th century, the term “sugar plum” used to refer to a hard candy made of any kind of dried fruit, and then sugar and spices. Despite the name, there’s no really plum in it.
How did turkey come to be the standard fowl during a holiday dinner? Way back in medieval England, peacock (or goose) was actually the poultry of choice to be served at a Christmas feast. It wasn’t until the 16th century when Henry VIII first had turkey on his Christmas table, and since then this big bird has been the classic centerpiece on almost every holiday table.
5. Mince pies
Although mince pies today are either stuffed with fruits or vegetables, during the medieval era they used to be stuffed with minced beef and dried plums. Originally, the pies were topped with an effigy of the baby Jesus, in pastry form of course.
An estimated 300 million pies are consumed every Christmas!
Where did the idea of putting tangerine in socks come from? It goes all the way back from an old tradition in France during the 1100’s, where nuns placed socks full of tangerines, nuts and other fruits at almhouses. In the UK, when tangerines are placed in your socks, it means you’re nice instead of naughty.
7. Nut roast
For vegetarians, vegans, or simply those who want to cut back the holiday calories, the nut roast is an ideal alternative to the ham or roast turkey. The ingredients usually consist of nuts, grains, and spices.
8. Australians grill their meat on Christmas
Since Christmas day falls during the summer season in Down Under, Australians grill meats on the barbie instead of putting them into a hot oven.