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Seasonal treats

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Seasonal treats

Postby karadekoolaid » Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:04 am

I was delighted to read BusyBee´s post about Easter Lunch. How wonderful to be able to enjoy a favourite meal with the family, even though it was 4 months late. :clap :clap
And it made me think. Not like Winnie the Pooh:
Sometimes, I sits and thinks; and other times, I just sits"

In my case, I was thinking: WHY do we reserve certain food items for special occasions? Why do we only eat Turkey/Brussels Sprouts / Xmas pud at Christmas? Aren´t they good enough for the rest of the year?
WHY do the Italians only eat Wedding Soup at weddings?
WHY do the Czechs only eat carp over Christmas?
Why do Venezuelans only eat hallacas at the end of the year?

And I suppose the important question is: WHY do we deprive ourselves of wonderful food for a whole year? 8-)

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby WWordsworth » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:25 am

I get what you mean, maybe it makes us appreciate it more?
And it contributes to the occasion.

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Suelle » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:17 am

I think WW is right - it seems more special if it's only once a year. However, Brussels sprouts aren't just for Christmas here! :lol:

It's similar to enjoying some British fruits and veg in season, and not buying imported equivalents at other times of the year eg asparagus and rhubarb.

I'm off blackberry picking this morning, although I do freeze them to enjoy over winter.
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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Earthmaiden » Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:25 am

Exactly, Suelle. Many people on these boards will remember when everything was either a seasonal treat or so exotic and expensive that it had to be reserved for a special occasion treat.

So, the Brussels sprouts will have seen the frost and be abundant, the Christmas pudding will contain precious dried fruits and booze, tangerines and exotic dried dates and figs will arrive from overseas in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The first lamb of the season will be available for Easter, strawberries and cream for summer picnics. Some foods have religious significance but the fish eaten say, in Poland, may not be the same as in South America. As for turkey, it's a bit of an imposter!

I think it's really sad that many treats are now available all year round. Perhaps things like expensive good chocolate, cheese, booze and local meat are now the only things left which are really special. I was trying to explain to GD the other day that she won't be getting cherries or strawberries here again until next year now and why. Quite a hard concept when they are all around her.

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Suelle » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:55 pm

Good points, EM, I hadn't considered the expense and thus, scarcity, issue which would have been a factor for many people in the first half of the 20th century and earlier.

When I was a child, Christmas and Easter meant eating a chicken, and it was the only times of the year that we had one - it was more expensive than beef!
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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Pampy » Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:01 pm

Yes, chicken was definitely a special treat in our household when I was young. I like turkey but it seems impossible to get free-range turkey at any time other than Christmas, and occasionally Easter. Sprouts I can, and do, eat at any time when they're at their best (which to me, means grown in the UK).

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby scullion » Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:13 pm

Pampy wrote:Yes, chicken was definitely a special treat in our household when I was young.

snap. a rare occurrence for when my parents felt rich or had something to celebrate! - followed by pulling the wish-bone and all of the days when the rest of the carcase would be stripped before boiling the bones for soup.
my mother had a brooch made from the sacrum of a chicken - with red 'gems' set in to the top holes as eyes.
nothing went to waste!

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Stokey Sue » Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:41 pm

Brussels sprouts were never just for Christmas in my family, we grew our own

Turkey’s and goose are quite seasonal when traditionally farmed

I don’t know about Italian wedding soup bu Turkish wedding soup is pretty ubiquitous, as a version can be made with leftover lamb and lamb stock

I heard Olia Hercules and Alyssa Timoshenko talking about the food traditions of Belarus and Ukraine, evidently the Soviets decided that they needed Communist festivals to bring the Empire together and came up with a New Year’s Eve feast that everyone could/should eat to celebrate, promoted in pamphlets, magazines, and broadcasts. A series of small plates including Russian (Olivier) salad in pastry shells, beetroot salad, pickled herring, pickled cucumber and some form of caviar. So the Soviets definitely though a national celebration was important
Interestingly I cannot find the Soviet menu online, Google decrees I am searching for “traditional Russian” :?

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Earthmaiden » Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:53 pm

scullion wrote:mother had a brooch made from the sacrum of a chicken - with red 'gems' set in to the top holes as eyes.
nothing went to waste!


Wonderful! Chicken was a Christmas only treat for us too. Even when cheaper broiler house chickens became the norm it was a treat. I remember watching 'Crossroads' circa 1974 and the character called Meg asked for a chicken sandwich to be brought to her. I wondered how she could be sure that cold chicken would be available just for a sandwich because it never occured to me that in the motel kitchen a whole cooked chicken might be sitting in the fridge in case someone wanted a sandwich, I had only had sandwiches when there was left over chicken and she wouldn't have known if there was any or not! (I doubt the writer had thought it through in that much depth anyway!).

I don't think of sprouts as being just for Christmas but they are one of the nicest green vegetables available then so it makes sense to have them! MIL's Christmas supper table was always groaning with pickled veg such as beetroot which had been lovingly prepared earlier in the year for the big day to go with the cold ham. Although I am in favour of seasonal food, I was thrilled the year I offered fresh tomatoes for the first time.

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Amyw » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:17 pm

I agree with others I think it just makes it more special to have certain memorable foods at certain times of year . I think it’s the whole ritual .

Never been a massive lamb fan or hot cross buns for that matter , so Easter kind of passes me by . Though I don’t mind turkey , we very rarely have it at Christmas as others aren’t keen and it’s a lot of meat . I often wonder why we normally only eat pigs in blankets at Xmas as they’re often the best bit for me

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Seatallan » Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:31 pm

Funnily enough, Mr S and I were reminiscing just the other day about roast dinners when we were children and we both remember roast chicken being a proper treat because chickens were so expensive.

In the days of rationing, my parents (who married in 1944) had rabbit for their Xmas dinner (my grandparents lived in the country and sent said rabbit to them). They talked about how wonderful that rabbit was until the day they died! :D
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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby KeenCook2 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:32 pm

We never had chicken, either, when I was growing up, but lamb for Sunday roast. Funnily enough I don't remember having "roast beef" but I definitely remember Yorkshire Pudds - I wonder if we had them with lamb? Or maybe with brisket, which was boiled and pressed and which we used to have quite often. I particularly remember left-over Yorkshire Pudds with Tate & Lyle's Golden Syrup, all drippy down the sides of the tin :lol:
Picking the mint for mint sauce was always my job.
Christmas was turkey - we were a large family - and we only had it for Christmas. What a treat, and as the youngest I always got the wish bone.

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby northleedsbhoy » Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:19 pm

One treat I remember for New Year was Ginger Wine. As far as I can remember the essence came in a small bottle from the chemist and it was mixed with water and sugar for us kids and the adults added brandy or rum. I don’t know if it was peculiar to Scotland but we never had it once we moved to England.

Just had a look and it can be bought online
https://www.healtharenaproducts.com/pro ... ne-essence

Cheers
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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Pampy » Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:07 pm

We used to make ginger "wine" from scratch at home when I was young. I found my Mum's recipe long after she died and wanted to make it again but couldn't get burnt sugar (I tried making it but wasn't successful). Might give that essence a try and see if it's the same.

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby herbidacious » Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:59 pm

This is why I struggle with making a vegetarian Christmas special. Unless you whack 'traditional' (not when I was growing up) Christmas cranberries and chestnuts in it (no thanks, frankly) there's nothing you wouldn't eat at any other time of year, really. Obviously you need to create your own traditions, but I have not quite managed this. I do like all the veg that go with a traditional Christmas dinner/Sunday/Easter roast but have yet to come up with a real treat main to go with these.
Since we've had to go to my mother's for Christmas, I've stopped even bothering to make anything from scratch, as cooking is very difficult there and my mother won't eat more than a dessertspoonful of whatever I make, anyway. Ah the C word. Goodness knows how we will manage it in Covid times, unless we decide to risk it and stay with her.
Growing up it was turkey at Christmas and goose or duck at Easter. I think... We probably just had chicken. I often think 'when I was growing up' actually only refers to 10-12 meals/holidays/whatevers as I don't remember much pre-6.

My father worked for one of the companies responsible for bringing American-invented (I think) battery chicken production to the UK :( (And this making it affordable enough to be an every Sunday meal if you so wished.)

Husband and I do have a sort of tradition of eating fondue on New Year's Eve...

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Kacey » Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:42 pm

Money was tight when I was a child and my Mom wasn't a particularly good cook, but I remember Christmas's - Christmas Eve tea was always what was called a 'mixed grill' but I now know it was basically a full English breakfast! It was the only time we'd have had sausage and bacon together.

Christmas day lunch was traditional turkey with the trimmings.

The thing that sticks in my mind most though it the box of fruit we'd have, back when that was the only time you got tangerines, and they were delicious! i'd love some of those tasty tangerines today!

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby karadekoolaid » Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:07 am

Another hand up for Xmas chicken. I don´t think I tasted Xmas Turkey until I was about 15 years old.
And ditto for the Ginger Wine. Ours came in a green bottle; damned if I can remember the name!
We also had Turkish Delight, home-cooked ham (cooked in ale), pickled cabbage and a curious assortment of tiny cocktail biscuits, all with different flavours. I haven´t seen them for years and years. That was about the limit of our luxuries.

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby miss mouse » Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:49 am

karadekoolaid wrote:And ditto for the Ginger Wine. Ours came in a green bottle; damned if I can remember the name!



Stones? I have no idea why I remember that.

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Earthmaiden » Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:47 am

Late MIL was still having a regular evening tipple of Stones right up until the time she died in 2015. I'm pretty sure it contributed to several late night falls :wino.

There was also a non-alcoholic one which my teetotal mother loved to drink at Christmas. She and I would sip it whilst the others had sherry before lunch.

Oh yes KK, Turkish Delight in a wooden box and dates and figs! Herbi, to me it's those extra things that really make Christmas, I'm not so bothered about the main meal any more and look forward more to cold treats on Boxing Day which can easily be veggie.

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Re: Seasonal treats

Postby Kacey » Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:57 am

I've been buying Stones Ginger Wine lately, when we moved house we found half a dozen bottles of Bells whiskey, as I'm more of a single malt girl, it makes a blended whisky more palatable especially on a cold evening.

Back onto Christmas treats, why did my Mom always buy a bag of nuts in their shells and a box of dates, which back then no-one ate? My Nan always gave us a box of those jelly fruit things in the shape of orange and lemon slices, we'd have much preferred a selection box!

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