Saturday, December 27, 2008

Boxing Day Food Fun

Yesterday was Boxing Day in England or St Stephen's Day in the rest of Europe.It's an extension of the Christmas holiday started in the Middle Ages when the alms boxes were emptied on St Stephen's Day. Also in Victorian England servants were given their Christmas gifts the day after the holiday hence the term.

Celebrate a belated Boxing Day by having English treats. Pop open a few crackers (those favors filled with a lame joke, paper hat and toy) and settle down for some plum pudding or the sticky toffee kind. The first is mixture of dried fruit, mostly prunes, nuts and suet. It is usually made five weeks before Christmas and the youngest child is allowed to give the mix a stir fro good luck for luck. Spirits such as brandy or a dark rich ale is added for more flavor.It is then boiled or steamed in a basin and stored in a cool dry place. it is then steamed for a few more hours on the day that it's served , decorated with holly and doused with brandy.It is then ignited for a spectacular show at the dessert table. Sticky toffee pudding, , is a more quieter affair. This is basically a cake laden with dates and then drenched in a homemade toffee sauce. Some add fresh whipped cream as a side to offset the overly sugared taste. You can add some lemon zest to give it a bite. Mince pie, that lovely mix of sweet and suet is also made, usually in tartlet form these days

Candy is big in England during Christmas hols too. It's not unusual for kids to be chewing on wine gums, a jujube type candy with wine and champagne flavors (wines gums are an acquired taste for any Yank, trust me on this one). Chocolates, especially Cadbury's brand are also big . Kids receive chocolate Father Christmases and coins wrapped in gold foil.

Boxing Day and the days after are still gift giving and feasting days in the United Kingdom. Nothing celebrates the festive season like sweet pudding and melt in your mouth Cadbury chocolates

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