I have chosen a couple of teasers, both relating to Christmas cakes, from Cake: A Global History by Nicola Humble. This is part of a series of called The Edible Series where each book focuses on a particular type of food. In addition to this one about Cake, there are others about Pie, Cheese, Chocolate etc. I am definitely planning to try and read more because it was a fun little read. I am planning to do a Weekend Cooking post about this book in the next few weeks!
By the Middle Ages, porridge existed in many forms, one of which was an enriched version in which the oats or wheat were accompanied by dried fruits, suet, butter, honey and spices. This luxurious mixture had a celebratory function, and was often served Christmas. This 'plum porridge' ('plum' being the generic medieval term for dried fruits) eventually became so stiff with ingredients that it was more solid than liquid. It was at this stage that cooks began to boil it in a cloth, developing the glossy, round plum pudding that was later to play so central a role in the Victorian Christmas.
and then from page 77:
The Twelfth Cake was replaced by (some would say mutated into) the Christmas cake - still a rich fruit cake with almond and royal icing, but no longer bearing those symbolic figures.
The British Christmas cake, like many of our most treasured rituals of the season, is not, therefore, very old at all. It has, though, acquired a notable presence as a symbolically necessary component of the festivities.
Merry Christmas to my fellow Teaser Tuesday-ers!
Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. Head on over to find out all about it, and how to join in!