There are innumerable Christmas traditions out there, some with more mysterious pasts than others. I myself believe that whoever started the “Ugly Christmas Sweater” parties wanted an excuse to wear theirs because secretly, they didn’t think their sweater was ugly. But there is one that has some questionable origins that not many people even recognize, primarily because it is so deeply ingrained in our culture: the candy cane. Yes, that little stick of refreshing minty sweetness has been around for quite some time, but no one really seems to know exactly where or when it started.
There are not many people who are aware of the traditional English beverage called wassail, and even fewer who have experienced it. It is a drink with a long and storied history, not only in the kitchen, but also in literature, music and even television. I had tasted it a few times prior to this post, but had always been curious about its origins. And trust me folks, it’s not just another holiday punch.
I’m going to take a calculated risk and speak for a large portion of the population; one of the best parts of the holiday season is the food. Turkeys, hams, geese, potatoes and other vegetables in endless presentations, casseroles, and mountains of various breads and rolls. And let’s not forget dessert: ah, dessert, the sweet ending to so many fabulous meals. The holidays are normally the yearly pinnacle for most people to indulge in cookies, candies, pies, and cakes. From the elegant creations served in restaurants to your mom’s old recipe that she got from her mom that she got from her mom, well, you get it; we love the sweet stuff during this time of year.