Since the majority of our air filtration customers are in the food industry and their production is currently in full swing for Christmas, we thought we’d take a look at the history of some of the traditional fare we eat here in the UK over the festive season.
We were surprised to find that a lot of the food we enjoy at Christmas dates right back to medieval Britain, although there have been a few changes over time. Some of our festive food, however, started as a tradition abroad. Read on to find out more.
Turkeys were brought to Britain from America more than 500 years ago by Yorkshireman, William Strickland. In the 16th Century, turkey began appearing on the Christmas table and Henry VIII was the first English monarch to eat turkey at Christmas. Up until then people had traditionally eaten boar’s head, goose, peacock and swan.
In the 1950s, when turkey was more widely available, it became as popular as it is today. Now, we eat around 10 million turkeys every year at Christmas!
“The majority of families (76%) around the UK will serve up a succulent roast turkey as the centre piece of their festive meal this Christmas.”britishturkey.co.uk
Instead of dried fruit and spices, mince pies were originally filled with meat, such as lamb. They were fashioned in an oval shape, which represented the manger that the baby Jesus slept in.
In Stuart and Georgian times, mince pies were status symbols and people employed pastry chefs to make them in different shapes.
A medieval custom said that eating a mince pie every day from Christmas Day to Twelfth Night is supposed to bring you happiness for the year ahead.
Bringing a yule log into the house to burn was an old Nordic tradition. The largest end of the yule log (which was an entire tree!) was placed in the fire and lit from the remains of last year’s yule log. You had to be careful not to throw the ashes out on Christmas Day though, as this was thought to bring bad luck.
On Christmas Eve, after a day of fasting, people would line their stomachs with porridge, containing honey, dried fruit and spices.
In the 16th Century, the oatmeal was replaced in the recipe with wheat flour, eggs and butter. The mixture was boiled to make a plum cake.
Fruit cakes were made by wealthy families, which they coated in marzipan for Easter. A similar cake was made at Christmas using dried fruit and spices.
At HVDS, we are proud to provide air filtration and ventilation solutions to some of the most well-known brands in the UK. Thank you to all those who are working over the festive season to bring us the food we enjoy at Christmas.
For more information about our Indoor Air Quality services, contact us on 01785 256976 or get in touch here.