Saturday, December 17, 2011
This time of year I often like to relax with a cup of hot tea and look through some of my Christmas books for inspiration. I shared this little book last December and decided to offer it up again for Chari's Sunday Favorites.
A VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS
By Koren Trygg & Lucy Poshek
A VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS , an Antioch Gourmet Gift Book, is a petite book of cherished Christmas traditions. It's the perfect size to slip into someone's stocking, and though out of print, it can be found here on Amazon.
This delightful book credits the Victorians for the "classic, festive holiday we cherish today". It was during the 19th century and Queen Victoria's reign that many of the age old customs were revived, "emphasizing their romantic and religious significance". The Christmas tree, a German tradition, dates to the 16th century. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, a German, she wanted him to feel at home and had a Christmas tree brought into the palace. Thus the practice of decorated Christmas trees became fashionable in British homes.
Most of the ornaments were handmade.
Glass ornaments later became the fashion.
The Victorians took the pagan idea of hanging greens in the house as a welcomed opportunity to use wreaths and garlands of fresh greens to "dress up their homes in the spirit of the holidays".
The custom of Christmas cards dates fromVictorian times. The typical greeting of the time is the same as today, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."
Traditions of Christmas stockings, according to British legend, date from "when Saint Nicholas dropped some gold coins along with his gifts down a chimney. The coins would have fallen through the grate but were caught by a stocking that had been hung to dry on the hearth. Ever since then, children have been leaving their shoes or stockings to be filled on Christmas Eve."
Victorians loved their sweets and began preparing marmalades, jams, jellies, puddings, and cakes months ahead.
By December they began baking cookies and breads.
The last two chapters are devoted to special recipes that can be used as gifts from your kitchen or to host your own Victorian Christmas Feast. I selected the recipe for Old-Fashioned Gingerbread to share for Food For Thought because gingerbread is my favorite.
It's cold outside, so come on in by our cozy fire . . .
Where you can enjoy a cup of hot tea and a piece of gingerbread fresh from the oven.
"Had I but a penny in the world, thou shouldst have it for gingerbread."