Friday, December 24, 2010

Some Feasts of Christmas

On this day of Christmas Eve, I thought you might enjoy some writings on Christmas feasts of the Georgian era.

Mr. Thomas North, on a Christmas meal in London at the home of a friend in 1731:
"'Tis impossible for me to give you half our bill of fare, so you must be content to know that we had turkies, geese, capons, puddings of a dozen sorts more than I had ever seen in my life, besides brawn, roast beef, and many things of which I know not the name, minc'd pyes in abundance, and a thing they call plumb pottage, which may be good for ought I know, though it seems to me to have 50 different tastes. ...our company was polite and every way agreeable; nothing but mirth and loyal healths went round."

 In 1795, Parson Woodforde of Norfolk wrote in his diary:

"This being Christmas-Day, the following poor People dined at my House & had each one Shilling apiece given to them by me. Old Tom Atterton, Ned Howes, Robin Downing, old Mrs. Case, old Cutty Dunnell, and my Clerk Tom Thurston. They had each a Glass of strong Beer after they had dined. ...It turned out a very fine Day indeed, no frost. Dinner to day, a Surloin of Beef rosted, a fine Fowl boiled & Bacon, & plumb Puddings."

 In "The Book of Christmas" author Thomas Hervey describes the London markets before Christmas:

"The abundant displays of every kind of edible, in the London markets, on Christmas-eve, with a view to the twelve day's festival, of which it is the overture--the blaze of lights amid which they are exhibited, and the evergreen decorations by which they are embowered--together with the crowds of idlers or of purchasers that wander through these well-stored magazines--present a picture of abundance,...Norfolk turkeys and Dorking fowls...Brawn is another dish of the season...
"The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction" in 1823 mourned the passing of the old customs while at the same time gently mocking them as antiquated. Nevertheless it published this little verse:

"Few presents now to friends are sent,
Few hours in merry-making spent;
Old-fashioned folks there are, indeed,
Whose hogs and pigs at Christmas bleed,
Whose honest hearts no modes refine,
They send their pudding and their chine,
Nor Norfolk turkeys load the waggon,
Which once the horse scarce could drag on;
And, to increase the weight with these,
Came their attendant sausages,
Should we not then, as men of taste,
Revive our customs gone and past?
And (fie, for shame!) without reproach,
Stuff, as we ought the Bury coach?
With strange old kindess, send up presents,
Of partridges and dainty pheasants."

Next week Tara Manderino, published author of three Regency romances, will join us. Please come back for a New Year's visit! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a happy Christmas with family, friends, love and joy surrounding you.

 'Til next time,


Anne Gallagher said...

Merry Merry Christmas!

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

Thank you, Anne! Same to you and a very Happy New Year...

Donna Cummings said...

I enjoyed this post, and I laughed at the part about mourning the passing of the old customs while mocking them for being antiquated. That was great.