Weird and Wonderful Facts About Christmas Food

By smei

Posted 30/11/17

1. Remember the episode of Friends where Rachel got two recipes mixed up and Joey ended up enjoying a beef trifle? We’re guessing he would have loved Victorian food, as back then mince pies were made with beef and spice, rather than the sweeter, dessert style fillings we typically get today [1].

2. In Japan many millions of people eat Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) for Christmas dinner due to a successful marketing campaign which ran in the 1970s. It’s estimated that 3.6million Japanese families treat themselves to a KFC meal around Christmas every year, with some customers placing their restaurant order up to two months in advance due to its popularity over the festive period [2].

3. Christmas pudding is often thought of as a Christmas classic, and is widely sold during the festive season in shops, cafés, restaurants, and pubs across the country. But do you know when the dish was invented? The origins of Christmas pudding date back to medieval times and a dish called “frumenty”, which was more like a soup or porridge than its current form. It was established as a Christmas staple in Victorian times after being made fashionable by Prince Albert [3].

4. Buck’s Fizz is often associated with the 1980s due to its surge in popularity during the decade, so much so that a pre-mixed bottled version started to the sold commercially in shops [4], however the drink actually dates back much earlier. Buck’s Fizz, which is traditionally two parts champagne to one part orange juice, was invented in 1921 by a barman as an excuse to get customers drinking earlier. It has been a top choice for the first drink of the day at Christmas and wedding receptions ever since [5].

5. We didn’t always associate Christmas with a turkey roast. The traditional Christmas meal in England during the 13th century was a pig’s head served with mustard. Later on, venison and goose took over as the meat of choice. Although first introduced to the UK in the 1500s, turkey didn’t take over as the most popular Christmas dinner until the 1950s when fridges became more widely available and the price of turkey meat went down [6]. Nowadays, whether we’re eating our Christmas meal at home or at a restaurant, turkey is on the menu!

6.   Do you feel like you pile on the pounds over Christmas? The truth is, you probably do! The average Brit will consume 6000 calories on Christmas day and do little more exercise than pushing their piece around the Monopoly board. That’s the equivalent of 12 big macs, 22 pork pies or 53 bags of quavers [7].

7. Many Italians celebrate the “The Vigil” or “Feast of the Seven Fishes” on Christmas Eve. Strangely enough the huge, pescatarian meal is part of a tradition of “fasting”, representing an abstinence from meat before Christmas day [8].

8. Mulled wine was first recorded in Ancient Greece and Rome, with popularity spreading through Europe as it was conquered by the Romans. During Medieval times people thought that the heat and added spices promoted health and beat sickness, sadly this may not be the case however it’s a winter classic sold in bars and pubs throughout the festive period. Some believe it is also great way to mask a bad wine [9].

9. Some businesses like pubs or cafes across the UK are opening their doors on Christmas day to feed the homeless and those spending the holiday alone, with some offering incentives to punters who bring in warm clothes and sleeping bags to donate to those sleeping on the streets [10] [11]. Consider taking a look to see if something similar is happening in your area.

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[1] http://blog.english-heritage.org.uk/recipe-for-real-mince-pies/

[2] http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20161216-why-japan-celebrates-christmas-with-kfc

[3]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frumenty#cite_note-5

[4] https://www.diffordsguide.com/encyclopedia/1244/cocktails/bucks-fizz-and-mimosa-cocktails-history-and-recipes

[5] https://memorology.co.uk/bucks-fizz/

[6] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/christmas-dinner-through-ages-festive-2932007

[7] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/calories-consumed-on-christmas-day_uk_584abfb4e4b0fccb67997275

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_the_Seven_Fishes

[9] https://vinepair.com/articles/history-of-mulled-wine/

[10] http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/city-centre-pub-opening-doors-13894049

[11] https://www.facebook.com/yummyschristmasdinner/

Posted 30/11/17

Author: smei

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