31 Dec 2009
Christmas as usual – Election or not!
Wow, what has happened to Christmas? Santa’s hues seem to be on the back burner at the moment. The colours in profusion as I write seem to be – in alphabetical order – blue, green, orange and red with an occasional white if you’re throwing in the towel! Amazing! Election fever has taken over Dominica. It is more fervent than Carnival – never has there been so many trucks with Hi-Fi’s’ blasting music here in the country, night and day. Christmas seems to be forgotten. We are bystanders just listening and watching, hoping that everyone respects one another’s point of view and that things work out happily on Election Day for each individual.
I am, however, focused on Christmas, making the Christmas cake, decorating the home, welcoming friends and neighbours alike for their favourite tipple and an English traditional mince pie! Many Dominicans admit to having a sweet tooth and find that this tidbit goes down smoothly. But sometimes when offering a mince pie it’s not unusual to get a guarded response from my friends such as, ‘I am a vegetarian and I don’t eat meat’ – supposing of course that mincemeat originates from some helpless four or two legged creature. Well, the recipe for a classic mince pie is a covertly kept English secret – pastry notwithstanding – my mincemeat is made from dried fruit, currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel and apples plus nuts soaked in brandy and sherry; it can be extremely decadent and more than likely delicious, served in a sweet pastry with a sherry cream filling.
Originally the mince pie did contain meat – mincemeat was a way of preserving meat by mixing it with fruit, spices and alcohol. The initial mince pies were large rather than bite size. It is sometimes said that the large pies were cooked in an oblong dish and that the top often used to cave in. As a result the mince pie looked a little like a crib, in keeping with the Christian nativity story. Over time the amount of meat was gradually reduced until it became the fruit only substance we know today.
With this in mind we wish all the readers a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2010 which is literally around the corner.
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