Christmas is celebrated around the world by thousands of people annually, and although each nation has its own traditions and rites associated with this holiday, so it happens that with regard to the Christmas dinner, everybody seems to agree on relatively the same culinary delights. On the one hand, this phenomenon can be explained by globalization which has helped immensely with popularizing such idiosyncratic Christmas drinks as the eggnog, but also the ginger bread treats. On the other hand, there are other unexpected similarities between nations which remain a mystery we yet have to solve. Let us have a look at the top 4 most prepared and enjoyed recipes on Christmas.
The origins of eggnog are not known today with absolute certainty; however, there are a few scholars who are quite confident that it can be traced back to the English lands or East Anglia. With regard to its etymology there are several stories behind it, the most popular one suggests that the term is derived from “egg and grog” – a common name given in the medieval ages to drinks containing rum. Since those memorable times, eggnog has been welcomed into our homes as the number one favorite beverage on our lists. The traditional version of eggnog includes the following ingredients: milk or soymilk, sugar, raw eggs, and spices (i.e. nutmeg). Fairly easy to make even for a novice in the kitchen, eggnog is usually strengthened with a bit of whiskey, rum, brandy, bourbon or cognac – this ingredient is at your pick.
2. Oven roasted turkey, chicken, duck or goose
The traditional Christmas dinner would definitely not be complete without it and for this reason alone this dish receives the second place on our top 4 Christmas Culinary Delights. Traditions differ between nations and this aspect is also reflected by the kind of roast people prefer having on their dinner table on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Actually, the traditional bird to have on Christmas, before the discovery of the Americas, was the goose. But the big breasted turkey could feed up to 10 people at a time, so it was soon shipped to Europe. Today, the oven roasted turkey is being cooked and served in over 16 countries around the world, while the alternatives – chicken, duck, goose, pork or lamb – are not the choice of a majority.
3. Fruit cake
This traditional dessert deserves a third place on our list merely because it offers so many flavors with a relatively easy to make and simple recipe that anyone can afford. The first recorded recipe for fruit cake dates as back as the times of the Roman Empire when raisins and pomegranate seeds were used instead of the chopped candied fruits we use today. Honey and different types of spices were added later on during the middle ages. Also, during the 16thcentury the fruit cake was baked as a symbol of wealth and good luck at the end of the harvest, and then served only when the next harvest began. Even now, the fruit cake is highly popular amongst the European countries, being usually served to celebrate weddings and Christmas. The traditional recipe includes yeast, eggs, water, flour, zest, and raisins, fresh or candied fruits.
Who could refuse a gingerbread house as a gift for Christmas? It is fair to say that not many of us could say no to it simply because it is unbearably cute and delicious at the same time. Yet what most of us do not know about gingerbread is the story behind the recipe of this special Christmas dessert.It is said that an Armenian monk, known as Gregory of Nicolopolis, brought it first to France from where it later on spread to Sweden. Records show that around 1444 the Swedish nuns baked gingerbread for indigestion, and that during the 16th century common people could buy it from the monasteries, pharmacies or markets. Today, gingerbread can be found on almost any store shelf and in every house on Christmas, either as a decoration or as dessert; the recipe varieties found around the world account for the mass popularity gingerbread has reached.
Now, if you were to pick your absolute favorite Christmas culinary delight which would it be and why?