British Christmas Traditions

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Misschief

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Some of these things I've never even heard of, being from a Dutch background. One, however, makes me gag.... bread sauce. My husband makes it every Christmas and I think it's one of the most horrible things I've EVER tasted!
 

DeeAnna

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Mincemeat tarts. Yum! I'm not at all crazy about mincemeat pie -- too much sweet-spicy filling and not enough crust to balance out the flavor. But tarts ... yeah! :)

Anybody else ever grow up eating real mincemeat rather than the fruit-only version?
 

dixiedragon

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I'm totally getting some Christmas Crackers. I think I have seen them at Costco. I will have a 5 year old nephew and a 6 year old niece and 3 year old niece, so I'm sure these will not be abused and used in an annoying way AT ALL. ;)

I'm Super Aunt, and supplying this sort of thing is my job.
 

Saponista

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I loooooveeeee bread sauce. I sit and eat the leftovers out of the pan.

The mincemeat we have over here contains beef suet, I always thought that was where the meat part came from, do you eat it with actual meat included deeanna?

And you can't beat a Christmas cracker, my grandad used to make them with me when I was a child. We used to buy the snaps and then fill empty toilet rolls with gifts and cover them with crepe paper. Such wonderful memories....... :)
 

dixiedragon

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I loooooveeeee bread sauce. I sit and eat the leftovers out of the pan.

The mincemeat we have over here contains beef suet, I always thought that was where the meat part came from, do you eat it with actual meat included deeanna?

And you can't beat a Christmas cracker, my grandad used to make them with me when I was a child. We used to buy the snaps and then fill empty toilet rolls with gifts and cover them with crepe paper. Such wonderful memories....... :)

I would love to make Christmas Crackers! What are "snaps"? Can you post a pic or a link?

I Googled bread sauce and found this:
"Simmer the milk, butter, onion, cloves, peppercorns, garlic and herbs in a pan for 20 mins. Strain and return the liquid to the pan. Add the breadcrumbs and simmer for 3-4 mins. Stir in the cream or mascarpone. Add nutmeg, season and serve. Can be made up to 3 days in advance and heated up on the hob or microwave on Medium for 3 mins."

It looks like somebody started making bread stuffing, and then somehow the pages of their cookbook got stuck together and they ended up on the "bread pudding" page.
 

IrishLass

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From the list, I've done these before:

1. Made Yorkshire pudding (twice). I really like it!
2. Pulled open crackers (once).
3. Go for a Christmas walk (every year).....and singing Christmas carols as we walk. We also do Thanksgiving walks, too, but we all gab with each other along the way instead of sing. Then we all come back inside and eat dessert. Yum!
4) Eaten mince pie. It was a yearly specialty of one of my dearly departed aunts on the Irish side of my family. I haven't had it since she passed on, which is okay by me- it wasn't horrible or anything like that, but it just wasn't my favorite kind of pie to eat. I do miss my aunt, though. She was a hoot and a half.

I do make a savory kind of a minced pie that everyone loves, however- my grandma's French meat pie with ground/minced pork and beef and mashed potatoes all mixed and put in a crust. There's no fruit in it, but I do put cinnamon in it, and I serve it with beef gravy. It's really yummy.

Wow- you folks in England get the whole Christmas week off? Who knew!


IrishLass :)
 

shunt2011

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I too have had yorkshire pudding (not a favorite).

We've gone caroling when my daughter was young. She loved it.

I've not had a minced pie but grew up and still love pasties which are beef coursely ground, with potato, carrot and rutabaga wrapped in pie crust and served with gravy or ketchup.

It's a Finland thing from up North (Michigan). So yummy!
 

dixiedragon

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I did a study abroad when I was in college in London. I was there over Jan 1, 2000, for about 3 weeks. Had a blast, but we American students were VERY unprepared for how much of the city would be closed! I had traveler's checks so I was okay, but some students had credit cards and had been planning to go get cash from the bank. Well, banks were closed! Most restaurants were closed. There was a tiny grocery store run by an Indian man that was open, so we got a lot of our food there. Many restaurants were closed, and the open ones tended to be on the higher end of the price range. But it was SO lovely and quiet. I like the idea of a major city taking off a week every year.
 

fuzz-juzz

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Mincemeat tarts. Yum! I'm not at all crazy about mincemeat pie -- too much sweet-spicy filling and not enough crust to balance out the flavor. But tarts ... yeah! :)

Anybody else ever grow up eating real mincemeat rather than the fruit-only version?
I love mince pies and Christmas puddings! I don't care if they are sweet.. they are boozy too so that makes up for the sweetness haha.
They are popular here in Australia as well. I usually make my own but this Christmas I was just too busy and had to buy both.

DeeAnna do you refer to meat pies with real meat? They are thing here in Australia too. I've been here for 20 years and eat them all the time. Pepper and cheese varieties are my favourites. For you guys in US idea of meat in the pie is a bit funny but they actually taste awesome.

As for the time off, here, depending on the type of the business many get up to 2-3 weeks leave. My husband is off for 3. It's summer here so that's why, we don't get much annual leave and holidays during the year.
 
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DeeAnna

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"..do you eat it with actual meat included deeanna?..."

Yes. The meat is minced fine and is sweetened and spiced, just like the modern fruit-based mincemeat. The meat base makes it more filling and mellows out the flavor of the spices and sweetness. It's definitely a sweet treat, however, not a savory main dish like a pasty (meat and potato filling in a pie crust covering) or the usual meat pie. (I like those too!)

My father's mother made real mincemeat pies when I was small, and so that's what I grew up thinking mincemeat should be like. Imagine my surprise as a young adult when I first bit into a fruit-based mincemeat -- much, much, MUCH sweeter and almost too pungent with spices.

Mincemeat was an ancient way to preserve meat using sugar (or I suppose honey) and spices -- kind of a chutney I suppose -- rather than preserving by smoking, salting, or pickling/corning.

ETA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincemeat
 
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Aline

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Reading that makes me feel quite homesick! (being English and living in Hawaii). My family does all those things (but they watch Shaun the Sheep reruns not East Enders!). For a split second I thought that was my family with the paper hats on (they come out of the crackers btw).
 

Misschief

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dibbles

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Growing up, Santa always left an orange in the toe of our Christmas stockings (I have a feeling he left one in the toe of my mom's as well). I found Terry's oranges when I had children and thought that was so much more fun. I still fill their stockings (they are 28 and 26), and a Terry's orange goes in the toe every year.

The brandy butter sounds fabulous - I'll be on the lookout for some. As to mincemeat. My grandfather and mother loved it. There were always other options for dessert, and since it often involved chocolate there was never a question about my choice. Once my grandfather was gone, the mincemeat pie fell by the wayside (as did lutefisk, which was another Christmas delicacy that only my grandfather and mother would eat. However, this was not the Norwegian side of the family - they all ate lutefisk). But I'm pretty sure the mincemeat pie was the fruit kind. The father of a friend of mine used to make, and can, mincemeat - made with meat - and gifted a jar to my mom. I'm pretty sure she didn't enjoy it.
 

snappyllama

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We love Christmas crackers! The paper crowns that everyone must wear (the teenage guys always seem to end up with pink) are great, but the best part is the terrible jokes!

Mincemeat sounds really interesting. I've seen it at a specialty market in Denver , now I have to try it!
 

IrishLass

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Tourtiere?
Yes- exactly! My grandma on my mom's side of the family (whose recipe I use) was French-Canadian, and we grew up calling it "French meat pie". If I remember right, I think I posted a recipe for it over in the food/recipe section.


IrishLass :)
 
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