BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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CHRISTMAS EVE.                                              163
up to London from Norfolk, during two days of a Christmas, some years ago—is nearly twelve pounds ; but what is called a fine bird, in Leadenhall Market, weighs, when trussed, from eighteen to one or two-and-twenty pounds,—the average price of which may be stated at twenty shillings ; and prize turkeys have been known to weigh more than a quarter of a hundred weight.
Brawn is another dish of this season ; and is sold by the poul-terers, fishmongers, and pastry-cooks. The supply for the con­sumption of London is chiefly derived from Canterbury, Oxford­shire, and Hampshire. " It is manufactured from the flesh of large boars, which are suffered to live in a half-wild state, and, when put up to fatten, are strapped and belted tight round the principal parts of the carcass, in order to make the flesh become dense and brawny. This article comes to market, in rolls about two feet long, and ten inches in diameter, packed in wicker baskets."
Sandys observes that " Brawn is a dish of great antiquity, and may be found in most of the old bills of fare for coronation and other great feasts." " Brawn, mustard, and malmsey, were directed for breakfast, at Christmas, during Queen Elizabeth's reign ; and Dugdale, in his account of the Inner Temple Revels, of the same age, states the same directions for that society. The French," continues Sandys, " do not appear to have been so well acquainted with it; for, on the capture of Calais by them, they found a large quantity, which they guessed to be some dainty, and tried every means of preparing it ; in vain did they roast it, bake it, and boil it—it was impracticable and impenetrable to their culinary arts. Its merits, however, being at length disco­vered, ' Ha !' said the monks,' what delightful fish !'—and imme­diately added it to their fast-day viands. The Jews, again, could not believe it was procured from that impure beast, the hog,— and included it in their list of clean animals."
Amid the interior forms to be observed, on this evening, by those who would keep their Christmas after the old orthodox fashion—the first to be noticed is that of the Yule Clog. This huge block,—which, in ancient times, and consistently with the capacity of its vast receptacle, was frequently the root of a large
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