The holidays are a time where we can enjoy the company of friends and family and gather over our shared, enjoyed traditions ⸺ and these normally start with delicious food! But where have our favorite family recipes gotten their names from? What inspired the changes and delicious combinations that set the scene for the holiday season? In this article, we’ll be covering rare holiday food and drink names and their origins, as well as outlining what you can expect with each delicious treat!
Mulled wine is a delicious treat. Piping hot and filled with brandy, spices, and aromatic fruits, this beverage makes the perfect addition to your holiday party. Originally called “Ypocras” by the Greeks, this drink swept across the empires around the first or second centuries. This word was assigned to the drink due to the unique sleeve that was used to keep it warm as it was poured. Later, as it grew in popularity across Europe, settlers coined the term mulled wine. It soon became a winter favorite due to the warmth it gave across the frigid months.
Bûche de Noël
This unique treat translates directly to Yule Log in English – and hails from a time past. In medieval times, feudalism prevailed and created a strict class system throughout Europe. Often, serfs and the lower class were required to take these logs to the wealthy to heat their homes and castles throughout the winter, as a token of their gratitude. The serving class went on to keep this tradition alive, and paganism gave it additional meaning and assigned rites of their own to this tradition. While many opted for upgrades in their homes at the turns of the centuries (such as central heating,) many families keep the memory alive and enjoy these cake rolls every holiday season.
Piernik is a Polish delicacy that finds its roots at the turn of the twelfth century. Now commonly known as Polish gingerbread, Piernik is rooted in the centuries-old Polish term, “pierna,” which translates to spices. This is aptly named, as the delicacy is a cross between a thickened gingerbread and a thin spice cake. The rich blend takes you on a journey with ginger, cinnamon, clove, and more with every bite, and makes for the perfect addition to your holiday dessert table!
While latkes are commonly associated with Hannukah and Jewish tradition, the root of the word stems from Hellenistic Greek language for “olive,” and is mixed with the Slavic “oladka” which is indicative of “small fried patch” or “small fried pancake,” respectively. That’s exactly what this delicacy is, as its made of finely shredded potatoes, spices, and fried in hot fat or oil. These delectable crunchy bites are delicious topped with sour cream, chives, ketchup, or virtually any of your favorite toppings or condiments. While they are perfect to enjoy in the freezing winter months, this entree is suited to be enjoyed at any point throughout the year – dig in!
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