The British Tradition of Wearing Paper Crowns on Christmas day

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It is quite common for British people to wear King’s paper crown on Christmas Day and at Christmas dinner parties. Apparently, this tradition dates back to Roman times when participant to the Roman Saturnalia celebrations – held around 25th December – used to wear hats.

The idea of wearing paper crown probably derives from the Twelfth Night celebrations, where a King or Queen used to be appointed to supervise the proceedings.

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Croatian Christmas Traditions and Epiphany

In Croatian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Sretan Božić’. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.

In Croatia, preparations for Christmas start on 25th November which is St Catherine’s day. People also celebrate Advent. Over 85% of people in Croatia are Catholics so Advent is an important time for them.

It’s traditional to have an Advent wreath made of straw or evergreen twigs which has four candles

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are mostly celebrated with close family. On Boxing day friends and extended family visit each other.

On Christmas Eve, most people eat dried-cod called ‘bakalar’ or some other kind of fish as it’s considered as meat fast (so you can’t eat meat).

The main Christmas Day is often turkey, goose or duck. A popular side dish is sarma (cabbage rolls filled with minced pork meat).

There’s also always lots of small cookies and cakes to eat including ‘fritule’ which are Croatian donuts flavored with lemon.

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The Christmas celebrations finish on Epiphany (6th January).

Read More:

Croatia: Epiphany, Red Wine And Taking Down Of Christmas Tree Tradition

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Central America: The Poinsettia, A Christmas Plant

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For those who celebrate Christmas in frostier places of the
world, our most used plant of the season is the Poinsettia.  You see the image on tablecloths, table runners and so forth.  And if done well, conside putting them on your Christmas table.

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as ‘Taxco del Alarcon’ where they flower during the winter.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.

poinsettia

Christmas in the Philippines

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known for gorgeous Parols ( Christmas lanterns), Tarlac province comes alive Photo Credit Wikipedia

 

Christmas in the Philippines, one of two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia (the other one being East Timor), is one of the biggest holidays on the calendar. The country has earned the distinction of celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season, with Christmas carols are heard as early as September and the season lasting up until Epiphany.

World’s Longest Christmas Season

The Philippines has earned the distinction of celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season. Although faint traces of the coming Christmas arise beginning from early September, it is traditionally ushered in by the nine-day dawn Masses that start on Dec. 16. Known as the Misas de Aguinaldo (Gift Masses) or Misa de Gallo (Rooster’s Mass) in the traditional Spanish. These Masses are more popularly known in Tagalog as the Simbang Gabi. Christmas Eve on December 24 is the much-anticipated “noche buena” — the traditional Christmas feast after the midnight mass. Family members dine together on traditional noche buena fare, which includes the quéso de bóla (“ball cheese”, usually edam cheese) and jamón (Christmas ham). Usually, aside from the already legal holidays which are Rizal Day (December 30) and New Year’s Eve (December 31), other days in close proximity such as Christmas Eve (December 24), Niños Innocentes (December 28), and the Epiphany (traditionally, January 6) are also declared as non-working days. In Asia, Christmas is also the liveliest in the Philippines, since the country is one of the few predominantly Christian nation in the continent besides Russia, East Timor, Georgia and Armenia.

Food Traditions

For Filipinos, Christmas Eve (“Bisperas ng Pasko”/Spanish: Vísperas de la Navidad) on December 24 is celebrated with the Midnight Mass, and immediately after, the much-anticipated Noche Buena – the traditional Christmas Eve feast. Family members dine together around 12 midnight on traditional Nochebuena fare, which includes: queso de bola (Spanish: “ball of cheese”; this is actually edam cheese), “Tsokolate” (a hot chocolate drink made from cacao and traditionally from crushed peanuts which add a pleasant grittiness and nutty flavor*.) and jamón (Christmas ham). Some would also open presents at this time.

 

*Source Wikepedia

*-Definition of Tsokolate-Desserts come first

Do it Yourself: Mason Jars- Get Spicy!

Mason Jar #2

Get a little spicy with your holiday gifts and consider giving fresh salsa.  Salsa is a combination of tomatoes, chilies and other spices. It’s origins can be traced back to the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs. The Aztec lords used the spicy chili  and tomato

Image from farmandfleet.com

combination serving it on turkey, venison, fish and lobster. In 1571, the mixture was named  “salsa” by Alonso de Molina, a Spanish Franciscan priest who came to Mexico (as a child) shortly after the Cortes invasion.

Whether it’s mild or the kind that clears up both yours and  your neighbors sinuses; salsa sauce is a great gift to give at holiday parties. Make a big batch and give it to your coworkers. Now when you are making salsa and putting it in a mason jar, don’t fill it all the way up to the top and make sure there is no excess salsa around the rim. if you do not want to go through the canning process, make sure to tell the gift recipient to keep the salsa sauce refrigerated and it should last up to two months.

If you do the canning process for salsa then it can stay up to a year. See the following link to find out how to can salsa. http://www.ehow.com/how_4735815_canning-salsa.html

For both of these Mason jar gifts use a little decorative garland, mistletoe, a bow or some artificial holly to tie around or  drape your jar. Get creative! Have fun and get to giving out your mason jar gifts.

Written by Monica Johnson

Kinderpunsch at Germany’s Christkindlmarkets

Newsflash…it’sofficially getting colder. As the frigid temperatures settle in for the season, you may have to dress in layers and keep up with those runaway gloves, but the cold weather isn’t all bad; it also brings delicious drinks that are great for warming the body and the spirit. One such beverage is Kinderpunsch, (also called “children’s punch”) and it is a Christmas tradition in Germany.

At Christmastime, Germany. is filled with holiday spirit. There are over 2,500 Christmas markets (also calledChristkindlmarket) throughout the country. Dating back to 1393, these markets have provided a healthy dose of merriment in the advent season. What’s not to like?  There’s food, drinks, and all manner of hand-crafted items including nativity scenes and hand blown glass ornaments. Every region produces a unique Christkindlmarket, filled with food and drinks representative of their town. One thing that is common to them all is Kinderspunsch, a non-alcoholic warming drink, traditionally made with apple or grape juice, cinnamon, and ground/whole cloves. Sold primarily at German Christmas Markets, market-goers drink Kinderpunsch as they traipse around in frigid temperatures looking for their rare treasures.

Here’s a simple recipe from Sallyberstein.com: Pour one quart of red grape juice into saucepan or slow cooker. Add about 1/4 cup honey (or to taste); 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces; 3 whole cloves; and the peels of half a lemon and half an orange. Heat, but do not boil. Strain into glasses and serve.

Chef Harris’ Tricks and Tips for Surviving the Holidays with Diabetes

 

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http://eugeenapatterson.com-I find that with this diabetes I can be disciplined most of the time except during the holiday season. Who in their right mind is not tempted by the scent of gooey desserts and those traditional dishes like mac & cheese and cornbread dressing? Well, I am tempted but can’t afford to give in to it with this diabetes.

Chef Harris kindly sent me some tips that I’m going to share with you and think you should share too. This is what she said:

  • Use sweetener in your coffee and tea. Keep a tiny amount of a natural sweetener like agave nectar or honey in your pocketbook at all times for when you’re away from home.
  • Don’t over indulge in starches. I know that’s easier said than done but take only a tablespoon of dressing, mac & cheese or mashed potatoes. Have a bit more of the green bean casserole instead or best of all, green beans without all of the extra stuff in the casserole.
  • Have someone else fix your plate. This always works better than you fixing it. Tell them to give you only a tiny bit of everything. If there’s something there you know you shouldn’t have, be brave and tell them to skip it and give you a little extra of something safe and healthy.

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The Tradition of Roasting Pig & Cuban Roast Suckling Pig Recipe

pig roast or hog roast is an event or gathering which involves the barbecuing of whole hog (the castrated male pig or boar, bred for consumption at about 12 months old). Pig roasts in the mainland American Deep South are often referred to as a pig pickin’, although roasts are also a common occurrence in Cuba as well as the non-mainland US state of Hawaii (a luau),[3] with roasts being done in the mainland states by descendants of other areas.

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The tradition of the pig roast goes back centuries, and possibly longer. There are many ways to roast pork, including open fire rotisserie style roasting, and “caja china” style box grilling.[4] Many families traditionally have a pig roast for Thanksgiving or Christmas. In Miami and other areas with large Cuban, Puerto Rican, or other Caribbean populations pig roasts are often held on Christmas Eve by families and friends[5][6] whereas families from Hawaii often hold a roast on memorial day.

Ingredients

  • juice of 20 limes, strained
  • juice of 8 oranges, strained
  • 4 large heads garlic
  • 1 cup minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon parsley leaves
  • 5 tablespoons salt
  • 1 whole suckling pig (12 to 15 pounds), split and washed

Directions

Place pig, belly down, into a large deep roasting pan. Thoroughly rub pig with marinade. Place in refrigerator overnight, basting occasionally.
Preheat oven to 275 °F. Pour off excess marinade from pan.
Cover pig’s ears, snout and tail with aluminum foil.
Prop mouth open with 1½ inch ball of foil.  Place in oven and cook for about 4½ hours (20 minutes per pound) or until internal temperature reads 160 °F.
Baste with marinade every 30 minutes. If pig starts to get too dark while cooking, cover with aluminum foil.

Christmas Wine Buying Guide

Ed Draves Manager at Prestige Wine and Spirits in Buffalo, New York

Ed Draves Manager at Prestige Wine and Spirits in Buffalo, New York

The big holiday meal.

And as anyone who has ever had the in-laws over for Christmas dinner can tell you, like gift giving, this meal, with all of the innumerable side dishes also comes with lots of expectations and tension.

In that spirit, hoping to lower your stress level a few notches, the Multi Cultural Cooking Network reached out to one of our good friends, Ed Draves, Wine Manager for Prestige Wine and Spirits in Buffalo, New York, where he has worked for over 20 years.

We asked Ed for a little advice on wine pairings and that Christmas meal.  Hopefully, with the suggested pairings below, you’ll be able to do a better job of getting the right wine for whatever you are planning on serving for the big meal.

Rather than ask for a specific wine or brand, we gave him a range of food items that might be served and asked him to think generally.  That way you can look for what is locally available to fit your meal.  With that, we think we’ve got you covered.

Here’s what Ed recommends to help you out.

The famous Rockwell Turkey Dinner… Look for champagne or a nice sparkling wine.  These will pair well with what typically tends to be a rather dry main course.

Pork loin… Look for a full bodied Pinot Noir or an Alsatian wine (pictured).  Remember, you are not trying to overpower your main course, but to complement it.  Both of these will fill that role.

Alsaltian Wine

Alsaltian Wine

Prime Rib… for many this is the boldest meal of the year so you want this done right.  For this main course look for a Bordeaux or a Meritage blend.  These darker wines will stand up well next to a nice cut of beef.

Christmas Ham… if you are going this route you need to be looking for a white Riesling or aGamay(pictured) if you are looking for a red.  Ed says both of these will do a great job alongside the more salty flavored ham.

shirazBut what if you are making the newest rage, the Turducken? In that case go for a full-bodied Shiraz.  There’s a lot of variety out there so get a young one that has some nice peppery hints.

And what should you do if you are avoiding meat products and maybe have that Tofurkey ready to go?  Ed says match your sides and remember, wine is a complementing beverage for your meal.

Finally, don’t forget about dessert.  If you want to top off a great meal right, get the classic, a Port wine.  Or, if you are lucky enough to live in the Northeast, try one of the local ice wines.  Both are perfect alongside the sweetness of your dessert.

So there you have it.  A quick how to guide on buying wine for whatever you may be serving come Christmas Day.

-Written by Dave Miller, World Traveling Missionary, Former Restaurant Manager and regular contributing writer for MCCN.

 

El Salvador: Pan con Pavo Recipe

Pavo, or turkey, is a popular Christmas meal in El Salvador. Salvadoran immigrants to the U.S. often serve it for Thanksgiving as well. The Salvadoran version of roast turkey has a variety of vegetables and spices that are roasted along with the turkey in the roasting pan. This tasty mixture is then pureed and served as a rich sauce to accompany the turkey.  See Recipe