Sweet Baby Jesus, KFC and 13 Desserts

I’ve been remiss in my continued Christmas posting, but I have three new Christmas food traditions to tell you about so I can make up for it.

 

Cougnou, Belgium

You know that nursery rhyme about blackbirds being baked in a pie? I always though that was a bit gross (notwithstanding the fact that at the time I ate chicken pie very happily).

For some reason that’s the first thing I thought of when I came across this Christmas tradition from Belgium. Yup, bread shaped like baby Jesus. I suppose it makes perfect sense, really- break this bread, its my body and all that – but I just keep balking at the idea of eating a baby. Personally, I don’t really see the resemblance, so if I came across a vegan version I just might tuck in.

13 Dessert, Provence

I was pretty darn thrilled when I heard that there was a legitimate Christmas tradition of eating 13 desserts. Of course, this fabulous food tradition is from France.

The desserts include dried and fresh fruit, nuts, bread, cake, biscuits and nougat.  Some desserts have specific reasons for their inclusion. Light and dark nougats represent good and evil, dates are included to represent the journey from the middle east, dried fruits and nuts represent four monastic orders, a bread to break (not to be cut), and a famous Provencial dessert, Calissons d’Aix.

I am considering doing something like this, because, hello, 13 desserts! If I could do it in Australia I would have:

  1. Dates stuffed with marzipan
  2. Almonds
  3. Raisins
  4. Figs
  5. Hazelnuts
  6. Vegan Christmas log (a log made out of rum ball mixture, instead of yule log, because I’m just not a fan of sponge)
  7. Sweet Olive Oil Bread (already vegan)
  8. Mango (the French use oranges, but I don’t like them much)
  9. Cherries (because why use winter apples when there are cherries in season?)
  10. Chocolate fudge (non-traditional, my addition)
  11. Mini vegan cheesecake (non traditional, my addition)
  12. Gingerbread (not traditional, my addition)
  13. Vegan Calissons, because they look fantastic.

If I do it here in Tbilisi, I will have to come up with something to sub for the cheesecake, hazelnuts and Calissons, and I would use the traditional winter fruits (apples, pears, citrus). I wouldn’t be using light and dark nougat to symbolise good and evil, because food is never evil and neither are dark colours.

 

Fried chicken with your honey, Japan

It turns out the Christmas is becoming a widely celebrated event in Japan. The celebrations are generally secular (most Japanese not being Christian), and is generally celebrated on Christmas eve, with a partner or lover. They have a special Christmas cake, a white sponge with cream an strawberries, and like to eat KFC fried chicken for Christmas eve dinner. Yup, you read right.

Apparently KFC may have become popular as a Christmas meal due to an ad some decades ago. It seems to have worked, as people are known to place their order weeks in advance, and line up around the block to pick up their bucket.

If I had anything here that was worth battering and frying I would totally get into this tradition, because I love the “Southern Fried” flavour. Sadly, I am without any tofu, tempeh, seitan, or any other mock, so I think I will make do with nut roast.

(I can see this Christmas food traditions research could turn our meal into a truly decadent event – 13 desserts, deep fried something, bread-babies – its all sounding pretty good.)

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