Friday, December 18, 2015
Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories # 18
From now and until Christmas Eve I will be participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, 2015 Edition by Thomas MacEntee and the Geneabloggers. If you would like to join you or want to know more about it please see this link.
Today's Christmas memory is supposed to be about Christmas baking. I have never fixed a Christmas dinner other than for my husband and I, which doesn't require any baking per se. My Mom still cooks a full Christmas dinner where my family gathers on Christmas Day as well as for Christmas Eve too.
I must apologize once again to Thomas MacEntee for going off script! I am trying hard to keep to the blogging prompts but I just don't have some of these memories. However, in
the spirit of Christmas Baking, here is a brief history of Christmas Cookies.
Cookies were first served 10,000 years ago during the Neolithic period when farmers would make a paste of grain and water then cook them on hot stones. However, the origin of cookie recipes comes from Medieval Europe and by 1500 cookie recipes were spread all over Europe. Some believe that the gingerbread cookie also known as the lebkuchen cookie was the first flavor to be associated with Christmas.
In the middle ages, the winter solstice festivals gave way to the Christmas holiday. The Christmas holiday kept the solstice tradition of serving food and drink. Nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper were becoming more popular and were used in baking. To add sweetness, depth and texture to cookies dried fruits such as apricots, citron and dates were added to the recipes. However, the cost of the spices, dried fruit along with butter and sugar were delicacies during this time. Families could only afford these delicacies on important holidays.
It was during the 17th century that America was introduced to cookies by the Dutch.
Then between the 1870's and the early 1900's, after changes in importation laws, cheap imported goods from Germany such as cookie cutters became available in the United States. It was during this time that the tradition of hanging cookie cutter cookies on the Christmas tree. Christmas cookie recipes still use the old world spices of nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and black pepper while the recipes may have changed a little here and little there the basic foundation of the recipe is still the same.
Butler, Stephanie, "The Medieval History of the Christmas Cookie", The History Channel, 18 December 2013 (http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/the-medieval-history-of-the-christmas-cookie : 16 December 2015).
"Christmas Cookies", Wikipedia Contributors, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_cookie : 16 December 2015).
Durner, Christine, "The History of Christmas Cookies", The Baltimore Examiner, 30 November 2011. HTML edition, archived. (http://www.examiner.com/article/the-history-of-christmas-cookies : 16 December 2015).
"History of Christmas Cookies", History of Christmas, Christmas Carnivals (http://www.christmascarnivals.com/christmas-history/history-christmas-cookies.html : 16 December 2015).
Sember, Brette, "A Brief History of Christmas Cookies", The Culinary Life Blog, 3 December 2012. HTML edition, archived. (https://www.theculinarylife.com/2012/a-brief-history-of-christmas-cookies/ : 15 December 2015).
" 'Tis the Season for Holiday Baking", All Culinary Schools (http://www.allculinaryschools.com/culinary-careers/article/christmas-cookies/ : 16 December 2015)