[Christine O’Keeffe’s Christmas Customs]
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O dewy flowers that open to the sun,
O dewy flowers that close when day is done,
Blow sweetly: twice my love hath smiled on me.
What knowest thou of flowers, except, belike,
To garnish meats with? hath not our good King
Who lent me thee, the flower of kitchendom,
A foolish love for flowers? what stick ye round
The pasty? wherewithal deck the boar’s head?
Flowers? nay, the boar hath rosemaries and bay.

...What knowest thou of birds, lark, mavis, merle,
Linnet? what dream ye when they utter forth
May-music growing with the growing light,
Their sweet sun-worship? these be for the snare
(So runs thy fancy) these be for the spit,
Larding and basting. See thou have not now
Larded thy last, except thou turn and fly.
There stands the third fool of their allegory

– Tennyson: Idylls of the King

Ta attey dy hollin mygeayrt y mysh kione y chollagh muck, as va ny feeacklyn vooarey echey shliawinit.

The boar’s head has a crown of holly about it, & its big teeth (tusks) are polished. – Manx Reminiscences

British Isles Christmas Food
Meats: roast beef, duck, goose, yn vuck spongit: ham (boar is wild pig) & chicken. They can be accompanied by oyster stuffing (cooked breadcrumbs, spices, oysters), mashed potatoes, parsnips, spiced beef (beef with cloves, allspice, mace, bay leaf, stout, & potatoes), oxtail soup, peas, hors d’oeuvres: brie, smoked salmon, mackeral, creamed tuna, rumaki: bacon & cabbage swirl, Irish coffee. Desserts: sruan (shortbread: a cookie made with butter, eggs, sugar, white rice flour), arran jinshar: gingerbread, scones, soddag vess: fruitcake, toffee (brown sugar candy), mince pie (pastry made with suet & candied fruit), tarts (fruit pies), whiskey: Water of Life, hot brandy, mulled wine.
 Soddag risheen: plum pudding is eaten for dessert & set on fire with brandy. It is a cake topped with hard sauce (an egg-yolk or butter sugar glaze) to hold the flame. Each person’s slice is lit, a person makes a wish & blows out the fire. If you do not tell anyone your wish it should be granted within the year.

English Victorian Status Foods
Eaten by the wealthy in large portions: Yorkshire pudding (eggs, milk, bacon fat), Beef Wellington (puff pastry with meat, egg yolk, cream, liver paté & port wine), Turkish Delight (rosewater gelatin), trifle (poundcake with liqueur, custard, & fruit), savouries (meat pies), sugarplums (preserved plums with sugar), currant buns, breadpudding, ginger beer, licorice & pastilles. Philips Milk of Magnesia was invented during the Victorian era to deal with indigestion. (4)

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