Less than a weekend away from Christmas, it’s the festive time – or quite literally, the time for feasting.
It is entirely unlikely, of course, that the true reason for Christmas – the birth of the Christ child – occurred on Dec. 25. More likely, the scholars who study such things maintain, the putative son of God made his appearance in the manger of our lowly earthly plain some time in mid to late September, or perhaps as late as October.
It was opportune, however, to usurp the pagan Midwinter celebration, and keep newly minted Christians interested with their traditional feasting, rather than chance them slipping into their old ways of feasting for less approved hopefulness in the dreariest and seemingly most hopeless time of the year.
The Druids and other pagan priests and priestesses had figured, long before the Christians came along, that an annual time of feasting in celebration of the shortest days of the year gave recognition that days were about to get longer and thus time for spring planting and replenishment of precarious food stores would soon be at hand.
And so it is that, Christian or not, we drag our oldest cookbooks with our oldest, most traditional family recipes off dusty shelves or out of seldom opened drawers.
This is the one time of year when the old books reign supreme over the Internet, despite its unlimited offerings of exciting culinary adventures. In the Christmas kitchen in many households, the fresh-faced upstart is asked to step aside and let tradition take the lead.
When you open your favourite cookbook – most often your oldest – it’s like visiting an old friend. And you quickly find yourself wondering why it’s taken a whole year to get back together again.
That favourite cookbook is easy to spot: it’s literally grimy with favouritism. No need for a “search function,” it automatically opens to your best recipe.
You don’t have to add cookbook recipes to your Favourites list, like you do with your browsers and computers. Simply as part of the act of culinary creation, your pages are marked effortlessly with a patina of old flour, grease spatters, and vanilla extract stains. The marks that give your books character would kill your ThinkPad or iPhone.
Most of all, those musty old books exude a comfortable Christmas feeling as no electronic devices could.
And happy feasting!