Aaah, the holidays! Full of family, fun, festivities, and holiday favorites. The only thing is…that thing that makes the holiday for me, may be the very thing that makes you say ‘ick—not again.’ When it comes to some holiday food traditions, it seems like it is either love or hate.
Take eggnog, for instance. Some folks cannot figure out how or why anyone would want to ruin good, fresh milk by putting seasonings in it, let alone, an alcoholic beverage. Others cannot wait for the creamy concoction to arrive on the grocery store shelves during December—just about the only time it is available. Eggnog’s origins are uncertain but most historical accounts credit Britons as the first to enjoy the frothy brew. Brits in the medieval period had a milky alcoholic beverage they served warm called posset, singularly popular with the upper class due to the cost of its ingredients. Across the Atlantic, because eggs and milk were plentiful in the farms of North America, eggnog gained a new following in the 1700s. It continues to have plenty of fans in the United States and Canada
Then take fruitcake. Or don’t, if you are one of those that thinks ‘not again.’ Unless you already know the origins of the fruitcake, it’s doubtful you will guess it. Fruitcake first arrived on the scene as food for the afterlife. Made of seeds, nuts, and raisins mixed in a barley mash, they were left on the graves of loved ones in ancient Egypt and Rome. A snack, if you will, for traveling to the great beyond. However, the living soon discovered that, when honey, spices, and dried fruit were mixed in, fruitcake was tasty. Not only that, the high sugar content kept it well-preserved—great for hunters, explorers, crusaders and others that needed nourishing, sustainable food for their long travels. Through the centuries, our appreciation of the fruitcake continued. Its association with wintertime began because dried fruit was the only fruit available in many parts of the world during harsh, cold weather. Europeans were so tantalized by the flavorful, delicious treat that fruitcake was banned from consumption as “sinfully rich.” This law was eventually lifted, much to the pleasure of fruitcake lovers throughout Europe. Nowadays, fruitcakes are exported from the United States to fruitcake enthusiasts worldwide. (www.catalogs.com)
Canned, jellied cranberry sauce. This holiday staple makes me smile because when I was growing up it was always on the table along with the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and other holiday meal trimmings. I still don’t know if someone in my family actually liked it. The jiggly maroon spectacle just may have been my mom’s quick solution for a side dish during that time period she was raising four kids. While it doesn’t taste bad, any food product that retains the shape of the can when you shake it out is, well, just humorous. I am happy to say that on my table, it has been replaced with a cranberry salad recipe made from fresh cranberries. But, if you love the stuff, you may be interested in knowing that Marcus Urann, a cranberry bog owner, and a founder of Ocean Spray was the first to begin canning cranberries in the early 1900s. Then, in 1941, the jellied log that we are familiar with became available. Reportedly, each jellied can requires 220 cranberries to produce. (www.vox.com)
Whatever your pleasure is this holiday, the staff and board of directors of the Sedona Community Center hopes you find it and wishes you the best of the season. The Community Center will have our Annual Holiday Buffet on Wednesday, December 25th from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. All members have the community are welcome to join us for a full holiday meal, desserts, live music, and community camaraderie. There is no charge for the meal. Donations of cookies and pies are being accepted in advance for the event. For more information call 928.282.2834.