The 2021 Holidays Recipe Collection
How you doin’? Last year with all the Covid issues and the fact that we moved our offices and test kitchens, I never got a chance to set-up the Christmas tree. That didn’t happen this year; I put up my tree even before Thanksgiving and have been in a much better mood ever since!
A tree is a tree is a tree… it’s a basic icon of holiday cheer, but the Christmas bauble is very personal and comes with an obscure history.
Today, we call them Christmas trees, but the decorative evergreen long pre-dates the celebration of Christmas. Evidence suggests that the practice of adorning the home with evergreen boughs during the winter solstice dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians (you may have seen a decorated tree when the workers topped-out the pyramids). The comforting presence and aroma of evergreens offered hope during winter’s coldest days and longest nights, serving a similar purpose in the various pagan winter solstice rituals of the Druids, Romans and Vikings.
Our current Christmas tree tradition is thought to have originated in 16th century Germany, where small evergreen trees were decorated with the likes of candles, apples, nuts and berries as “paradise trees” in religious entertainment offerings. Over time, devout Christians integrated these decorated trees into their homes during the holiday season. The tradition, which became a Christian ritual, began to spread across Europe.
German immigrants brought the Christmas tree to America in the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was promptly rejected by Puritanical religious groups for its historically pagan connotations. While it took a while to catch on, small communities of German-born settlers documented the continuation of this practice as early as the mid-1700s.
In the late 1840s, a published depiction of the favorable Queen Victoria celebrating Christmas with her German-born husband, Prince Albert, and their family around a decorated evergreen tree transformed the practice into a fashionable one that wealthy Americans soon rushed to adopt.
In short order, local businesses caught on to the ornament’s commercial potential. Personally, I have decorations for 3 large trees—one is my food tree, the second one is my travel tree and the third is a crystal tree. I have collected most of these decorations over the years. Now if you’re just starting out and don’t want to ship money to another country, you can make your own Christmas tree decorations right in your own kitchen with my Cinnamon Gingerbread Tree Ornament recipe. By using coconut oil instead of butter, you should get at least 3 years use before having to remake your baked decorations.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Chill time: minimum 2 hours
Bake time: 12 to 15 minutes
Decoration time: Allow at least a couple of hours to do it right
Yield: 24 average size decoration cookies
5 cups all-purpose flour
3-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
16 tablespoons coconut oil (see ChefSecret below)
2/3 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup molasses
Edible Decorative Icing For Gingerbread Cookies
This easy royal icing recipe for sugar cookies is easy to make! No need for egg whites, meringue powder—there are just four simple ingredients required to whip-up with a hand or stand mixer.
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
water, for thinning, as needed
gel food coloring, if desired
Quip of the Day: “Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.”
Do you have a question or comment? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. All recipes and cooking tips are posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Have a wonderful safe and healthy holiday season. If you have a little extra in your pockets to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America.
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©Perspectives/The Consulting Group, Inc., 2021
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