Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week of December 19 (Mini-Update)

Weekend shopping, if not entirely consigned to gift selection, probably includes items for the pantry.

Hone records the changing customs of holiday meals, starting with a few overwhelming lines from Philip Massinger, the 17th century playwright:

Men may talk of country Christmasses,
Their thirty-pound butter'd eggs, their pies of carp's tongues,
Their pheasants drench'd with ambergris, the carcasses
Of three fat wethers bruised for gravy, to
Make sauce for a single peacock; yet their feasts
Were fasts, compared with the city's.

City Madam, act ii, sc.1.

Whether or not you have three fat sheep primed for your gravy boat, a taste of the old days may be recalled with Christmas games and stories. Traditional tales include those of Sir Thopas, Bevis of Southampton, Guy of Warwicke, Adam Bell, and Clymme of the Clough.

To conclude the day, try a bed-time posset. Part drink, part pudding, this favorite dessert has been employed by the rampaging Macbeth family (with a little poison), to dispose of the King's guards. It's also popped up in another epic adventure, where it demonstrated temporary restorative powers. [EDBv2]

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