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The Historical Roots of Holiday Treats

2017-12-13 | 🔗

Tasty treats associated with winter holidays - candy canes, wassail and gingerbread - have some slightly hazy origins, because the evidence of their histories was eaten. What do we actually know about these foods and their place in the holiday menu?

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
here's the thing saving money with geico was almost better than playing pick up basketball is always that guy who joined your game he never passes the rock he instantly bricks theories and who can we have you and then put his hands up and say no foul no foul with geico it's easy to switch and save on car insurance no need to fake an angel sprain because you're absolutely exhausted so which in save with back it's almost than sports welcome to stuff you must in history class from hast up works tat can allow and welcome the pot camp i humbly fry and i'm tracy bewildering tracy gap regulations holidays max i now for they both and celebrate christmas or other winter holidays the snacks are the best thing about the season i think tracy and i have told the ridicule
story of us being too of the only people in the office during christmas holidays one year yet and making small cars with chocolate loose peeps and peppermint bark and running around like we were wild animals it was amazing because the sugar rush was more than we can in any way superfine and even if i don't celebrate the religious holidays or even like them or cultural like the people are more culturally christian and celebrate christmas geller way like even if you don't do any of that a lot of the always time of the year that you really find them yeah yummy snacks or yummy smacks of many of these nets have histories that go back hundreds of years but because of the nature of the subject things get we confusing in a hurry because after all all of the historical evidence is pretty much eaten so there's a lot of apocrypha going on
in the interest of examining the stories behind some of the most ingested holiday consumables we're gonna sort through that apocrypha emma known facts and will probably all be grieving something sweet and delicious by the end expectations management random the gate already talked about ignored in its origins a bit in our economic riot episode so we're not gonna talk about economic today we do have another drink which is wasil and will also cover candy gains in gingerbread i'm excited but a lot of new things religious so can't keynes bright and cheerful sticks of peppermint goodness but no one really knows exactly where they came from there are a lot of unsubstantiated stories about the origins though and three of them are the ones that are the most commonly repeated so one version of
story goes that candy keynes were originally invented in germany in the sixteen hundreds and in this apocryphal version acquire master at a cathedral inventive came became as a way to keep children who are normally a little bit fidgety and sometimes noisy occupied and quiet in church and he had the candy sticks made by a confectioner with a crook at the tops of that they echoed the shape of a shepherd staff making the idea of candy in church more acceptable to parents sometimes this story is told along with color symbolism why your master specifically chose white sticks of candy to represent purity and crazed but there is absolutely no record of such a thing and no one seems to know who this quiet there was even though there are an awful lot of details about his thought process so again it's a lovely story but unsubstantiated i'll say i would have much preferred candy as a way to keep quiet and church than what i
actually hat with was doodling on the church bulletin the church bulletins are generally not just now to any church bullet but that that now but i would draw them so another origin story attributes the invention of the king came to a particularly confectioner and the united states specifically in vienna hook carefully designed the king came as an expression of the story of christ and this similarly sites the white of candy came as a symbol of purity and the red stripes is symbolic of the blood of crisis the crucifixion and the came shape according to this version is actually the letter j for jesus again there no evidence for this story looks like the one that i heard the most growing up although i heard the combination of the colors being this one and then the cook is the shepherds yeah it's one of those things like if people
to think of them that way those great but like there's not really any historical backing for that being how and why they were invented a third story is less about the invention of the peppermint treat and is more about the introduction of it to the u s and this tale features a germ immigrant named august in guard and according to the legend m guard put up the christmas tree the first in ohio when he decorated his in eighteen forty seven and it said that m guards tree had paper ornaments and candy keynes on it at least that is how some version of the story go there are other accounts that say that it was actually a type of decorated bavarian cookie that was used to grace the tree along with the paper ornaments as well as nuts that were painted gold m guard
does remain associated with one of the earliest christmas trees in the u s although i think he is no longer referenced as the first christmas tree in the u s but they can became aspect of the story in terms of him bring it to the united states and decorating with it is again not substantiated in any way as for the straits peppermint sticks themselves there clearly described in eighteen forty four book the complete confectioner pastry cook and baker by owner parkinson s section of the texts titled clove ginger or peppermint candy the process of making stripe candy is described this way for clove the mixture whilst boiling as coloured with token eel ginger with saffron but the peppermint must be kept perfectly white except the stripes which has done by putting office
many pieces from the bulk as you have colors which should be in powder put a sufficiency and each piece to give the desired tent and keep them warm when the remaining portion of the sugar is pulled lay them over the surface and narrow stripes double the role together and the face each way will be alike pull them out into long sticks and twist them make m round by rolling them under the hand or they may be cut into small pieces with a pair of shares or scissors yes so in terms of that more matter of pudding stripes to make them colorful and festive not so much with any kind of me and while we may not be able to trace the invention of candy gains back to its origin point we do
you know a bit more about the mass production of candy keynes and where that started bob's candies founded by a man named the bomb mccormick in albany georgia was the first confectionery company to start mass producing candy gains which they did in the early nineteenth twenties incidentally bob's candies was also the first to offer cellophane wrapped candy gains tracy i dont know about you but i accidentally adjusted a lot of cellophane as a child the nautilus peel it off the candy people initially the hooks that were being added to the keynes we're done by hand before the candy cooled and hardened but this method had a high rate of waste because more than one fifth of the camera keynes broke and consequently can be sold bob mccormick's brother in law a priest by the name of grigory hurting keller invented a machine to automate the hook shaping process which had a much lower rate of candy breakage the keller machine not to be confused with a one a doctor you
further refined by two bob's candies employs named dick driscoll and jimmy sprat and then after that almost all the candy keynes produced were perfect novel invention which was really the start of the modern candy came industry one keller has fifteen minutes of fame even appeared on it so what's my line so contestants could guess his profession yeah i would imagine that was a stumper most priests do not also invent machinery for the confectionery trade there is picture of him that i found on line and he's in his fall like you know priest collar and everything standing next to this machine and it's very charming next up we're gonna talk about a winner average that's been having a bit of a resurgence in popularity in recent years and that as was all but first we're gonna take a quick break forward from one of our main task sponsors this episode of stuff you missed in history glasses brought to you by norton three sixty with life luck with your shot online with your smartphone its super feels like ear person
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ok so if you're like me for a long maybe you are sure if you ve ever had lost before odds are yes because there are a lot of different versions of it like there's no one this is what equals true boss also probably something you have had could fall into the the very loose definition i am also there's a bit of confusion about whether wasil is a thing you drink or thing you do and it's actually both we'll get into that it's a word that has pretty soft edges around its definition there is also a waffle song but i'm not going thing to you because no one needs to be subjected to that you might have heard it with the reference to wasil subsided out with another term so it's the one that goes become a waffling among the leaves so green here wandering so fair to be seen levin joy come to you and to your u waffle too and god bless you insane
happy new year so sometimes a waffling is swept out for a carolyn and but i have to you your wasil its something along the lines of plaid christmas or a merry christmas yeah the the really popular version in the united states that was recorded by perry como definitely subs out was calling for a curling and glad christmas and there have been other recordings as well that do the same i'm not sure if that was because they didn't want any reference to alcohol or if it was because they thought people might not know what was selling was but in any case it gets opt out but you know song even if you don't think you do it always makes me think of the version of little women starring winnowed a writer and one of the earliest mentions of wasil as a form of toasting and well wishing is found in old english epic beowulf most likely pen somewhat some time between the eighth and tenth century its exact date is unknown
and the word is evolved from the greeting very highly old nurse and its old english counterpart was how both of which convey a wish to someone for their good health or good fortune but aside from a fairly clear connection to root words the path of the wasil tradition through time is a very winding when with any branches according to robert doors writing forty colonial williamsburg journal it was england danish speaking community that started using it as a toast but it caught on so quickly throughout the three that by the time william the duke of normandy brought the norman french army to the battle of hastings than ten sixty six job about an archive the invaders believed that it was an english custom so even though it probably did not originate with natives of england babe did it so quickly that its now very much associated with england and one of the more specific origin stories of the waffle toast
is the tale of vortigern and rowena vortigern a fifth century british king was allegedly struck with ruin his beauty and when she approached him and uttered the grieving was how he after conferring with an interpreter answered drink how an then the two share to drink of wine which would have been a luxury item and while this story is unverifiable and it has taken on men variations throughout time including versions that happen later where they were sharing a cup with a whole group of people and there is also a play which was allegedly written by shakespeare but was eventually revealed as a forgery this exchange of greetings continues into modern time although now it is not linked to romance as the original story was but merely a revelry and merriment like as a call in response to people to start sort of drinking party by the thirteenth century the idea of a communal drinking vessel feel filled with wasil had become popular
this was a ball of the drink what she would dip bake goods into likes soak up the waffle and this is allegedly where the use of the word toast comes from mean a greeting before a group drinks together because pieces of toast worse times dip or floated in the waffle ball so wet alcoholic toast ah the walls of all became part of a roving street party practice in the fifteen hundred so revellers also call moi sellers would visit homes sort of similar the way the carers might offering drinks and well wishes and some location booth waffling was part of a pagan winter solstice festival saturnalia dressing in the skies or in burning social roles as part of this practice and it became a time when the wealthy would share their bouncy with people who have less financial fortune
although there were also a camp to suggest the sharing had been demanded by drunken mobs rather than being offered magnanimously yes so some new versions of this were a case where people would pass this was all around maybe get a little bit of liquid courage then go to the rich guys house and demand that the he share his wealth with them or it was you know feudal lords with them kind of have the people under them come to their house and go hey you should share with us that is a very very watered down version of it the pagan wash old tradition was also part of farming life in britain farmers would drink to the health of their animals and their orchards and they would leave wasil soaked bread and trees or just poor the was all directly on the tree trunks and this could also involve groups of farmers and their families
moving from one farm to another throughout the course of an evening to wish prosperity on the crops of everyone in the community so obviously all of these various adoration of la selling also evolved to coincide with the different beliefs and celebrations in different areas while there were paying and routes to some of the farm practices which included the desire to ward off bad spirits from orchards as part of christian holidays waffling became part of twelve night festivities in more relaxed definitions of waffling the word has been used in a modern way to refer to almost any instance of in winter where neighbour visit each other and bring some sort of waffle or other libation to enjoy together like i said it's got very soft edges of its affect each other and all of this drinking realities we should point out was not always looked upon as good cheer so in both
click on the north american colonies where the waffling tradition have moved along with the colonists seventeenth century puritan church leaders were not enthused with the practice of drinking to celebrate a christian holiday i'm a cross over was saturnalia on the calendar further wrangled them there were in fact attempts to banish wasil and was the wing and many other christmas activities completely the practice and the beverage survived and they were romanticized in nineteenth century literature as part of a traditional english christmas celebration carrying a giant bowl of punch door to door is maybe a little too cumbersome to remain a popular practice yet there are still places where people do it in and villages and towns where it is a big part of a tradition but it's really mine this common as it would have been
several hundred years ago and we mentioned earlier than the story of rowena inverted earn were true the wine spiced with ingredients that would have been imported would have been the value of all but while that drink was merely present according to the law at the moment when the idea was lying was born and would not have been called wasil itself there are plenty of other drinks that have been called wasil through the ages so so were made with more affordable spiced ale rather than wine some replicated that more expensive wine with spices some have been made by whipping beer or ale into a froth and then dropping roasted crab apples into the foe there are a lot of versions and then of course considering the orchard focused visions of waffling and more rural areas it's really no surprise that most modern wasil recipes are really apple centric if you search on
you'll find that most start with apple cider and add some combo of other fruit juices including orange pineapple anyone cranberry the whole cider fruit juice mixture is cooked with spices like nutmeg cloves allspice and ginger and some include eggs the drink serve hot often with a fruit garnish or a piece of fruit stood in the beverage as it simmered and an alcoholic wasn the peace can start with fighter and spices combined with sherry brandy rum mould wine and so on i feel like i should confess that this is not my thing it's fine not at all i feel like a bad celebrates but am please don't hand me hot sugar water isn't that well i am fond of like a hot mauled cider
with like lots of cinnamon and what not i'm not find fond of the idea of community drinking from the same bowl maybe strangers true that's another thing that i didn't mention in in these notes that there is also like a hygiene element that may have made this lose a little but a favor over the years yet me i we may have a thing where it was somewhere along the line ingrained in me that apple cider served warm is very dangerous as a potential haven of bacteria and my brain cannot pass that possibility even if some shows me all of the ways they have maintained safety food standards throughout prep and serving i'm still like
cs arguer let alone the person who worked in food safety for part of my career like it is true that they like fresh pressed apple fighters and stuff if they're not pasteurized can be dangerous my dad caught around this office the apple cider would be ways you hired to put it in your mouth when you put it into the cup like you needed to derail time so had there been anything in it it was dead get here i more of an drinker the mass some drinker but adheres to anyone who likes their waffle i do have ignored yeah me too we are going to move on to some more sober but very delicious baked goods we'll talk all about gingerbread right after we first pause for little sponsor break this episode of stuff you stuff in history in history brought you buy norton three sixty with lifelike
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eighty five percent off gingerbread is closely associated with christmas celebrations but its history is truly national and it is not tied in its origins to any holiday gingerbread has been popular in some form or another will talk about its many forms for hundreds of years there is even a reference to it in shakespeare's loves labors lost because it was so wildly popular already the sixteenth century the early afternoon existence of gingerbread as all the way back in ancient greece around twenty four hundred bc ie or it was used and ceremonies ancient egyptians also use some form of baked ginger spice food and ritual customs the earliest known instance of an asian bait good cook with ginger is
china and the tenth century yeah asian countries reusing ginger in all kinds of other ways but the scientifically to baked goods and we know gingerbread was in europe by the eleventh century possibly almost entirely likely brought back from the crusades and for the remainder of the medieval period gingerbread popularity and spread throughout europe and actually became a stable at festivals but through this early created while words that acquainted roughly two gingerbread were being used in various languages it didn't really refer to what we call gingerbread today and there really was not a consistent meaning for it at all then so sometimes it would simply be referred to preserve ginger that was edible earlier versions of gingerbread of baked item in europe included ginger of course but also good the omens stale bread crumbs
rose water and sugar and endless made a pace that it could be pressed into moulds before baking and the dense mixture retained the shape of those moulds really well and as gingerbread killer t grew so did the variety of shapes than it was baked in and the level of detail that was used in the moulds also got a lot more intense and it wasn't long before animals and flora were crafted from gingerbread soon this baked treat became await a mark current events and theme the gingerbread two specific celebrations by the fifteen percent thirdly there the various translations of the word gingerbread all started to refer to some sort of ginger cake with very the of denseness along the spectrum between spongy cake and hard cookie even today gingerbread can refer to a cake her a cookie and recipes really very pretty greatly you ve probably had thin crisp ginger cookies thick ready to ease and everything in between
with bakers experimenting and regional ingredient differences that have led to a huge wealth of different kinds of gingerbread and over time of course the recipe shifted by the sixteenth century flower was used instead of bread crumbs and eggs and other sweet spices were incorporated and it was actually during the sixteenth century that the first gingerbread man was allegedly baked so according to accounts queen elizabeth the first had miniature gingerbread replicas of prominent guests bait and so when they arrived at court to visitors were presented with there i need tasty dapple gainers am i treat me out although that they were all apparently delighted ok give us there was a cute little thing not something spooky i'm just imagining like a very meticulous uncanny valley kind of gingerbread representation self given something to eat that might be weird so you read it also become a token of what was sometimes given two nights by law he's wishing them well and tournaments hard
your bread was also crumbled and use it as a tapping on other fields not for lack but to hide this of items that have maybe lost their freshness ginger rescue again yet there were allegedly meet that was may be starting to turn would sometimes be treated in this way to cover it smell an additional gingerbread lower started to crop up so some believe that if a maiden a gingerbread man intended to represent a husband that they would put sort of cosmic forces of luck in motion to bring her marriage the answer is also well known in the stomach settlers so it's not surprising that by the fifteen hundred gingerbread was also being tested for its ability to sue your tommy
henry we ate the said to have hoped that ginger baked goods would stave off illnesses i mean i have to wonder if that's just a case of lake this is delicious its medicinal i don't know i think there's there is some definite suggestion that chewing indeed ginger can help if you have motion sickness over sure i'm literally meaning henry they ain't going gingerbread cures all officer yeah yeah gingerbread became so beloved in england that entire ferris popped up just to celebrate it so it had been sort of a food that was served at other fears and festivals but eventually there were literal gingerbread festivals and then gingerbread morsels that were served at these events gotham name's fairies for the wealthy age underbred was even decorated with gold leaf and the idea of gingerbread became associated with finally detailed design and luxury yet even sometimes you
here of houses being built with gingerbread style details and usually that means very sort of meticulous slightly the you know i want to say fussy and that to have a negative connotation but that's not my intention to the lot of you no kind of ornate work on them that is still used a reference in the u s gingerbread is a tradition as old as the colonies themselves george washington's mothers gingerbread recipe is still shared and baked our previous guess that was on the podcast an burn included it in her book i'm here and cakes and after the colonies gained independence from great britain gingerbread baked into the shape of an eagle actually became popular and some american politicians over the years even took gingerbread on the road to share with perspective voters in an effort to gain favor
gingerbread cookies in german traditions took on a role that with similar to that of conversation hearts traded in the u s or unbound times day lab cookin as these cookies are called up often heart shaped with little sweet nothing spell messages written on them and i sing in cities throughout germany as well as poland russia hungary the czech republic in france gingerbread became so revered and so vital to regional culture that gingerbread guilds were established and in some european cities antique gingerbread moulds are still on display in museums they will occasionally also press like bees wax into them to make limited edition ornaments that are super duper popular joe
money is also the home of the first gingerbread house often said to have been inspired by the candy house than the grim spiritual hansel and gretel that story was originally published in eighteen twelve as part of the book grimm's varies take the grimm's fairytales now it may also have been gingerbread houses even before that as far back as the sixteenth century about the brothers grimm's writing made the cookie domiciles more popular yeah they really exploded in terms of their popularity after that came out so from you we the tradition of creating feats of confectionery architecture spread though it never really caught on in europe in of the bird the why bread way than it did in the united states were gingerbread houses are really popular now today gingerbread houses are so far where there there's ongoing international competition to build massive ones that are as large as a real houses the current record
as the house built in twenty thirteen and brian texas by a group called traditions club and in that house is sixty by forty two feet which is eighteen point three twelve point eight metres had more than two thousand square feet of interior space visitors can pay to have a visit with santa claus at the house and with all the perceives going for the new traumas centre at joseph hospital tat is a lot of gingerbread as a whole lot of gingerbread on a much smaller scale prior podcast subject the grove part in has gingerbread house competition every year but their little ones little incredibly ornate ones yeah the we have talked about despicable crimes of business how dimensions if any of our guests in disney whirled around how it is one of the coolest things you can do is spend a day not going into any of the parks in business or old but going from hotel the hotel because
all have their own special gingerbread house display in some of them are using and i love like the polynesian usually has liquor really cute little hawaiian style one that is sort of goofy and sweet but or in an i'm at disneyland during the holidays and you go see the haunted mansion holiday or they do the nightmare for christmas over usually in the ball room there is like an astonishing feat of gingerbread physics going on and it just smells amazing in there and its really lovely who doesn't love gingerbread gear is so good up i would may i think we should start means to read your round and i also if you have not had a gingerbread cake versus the cookies i highly recommend it gives some of those are really the wishes the listener mail i do it's not related to food but it does mention potato starch this is from our listener gretchen
hi guys i'm a book conservator working in collection care and i loved your recent broadcast we're brothers i was in the pot guess all day while i work in europe is one of my favorites i especially enjoyed this most recent woman is it brought me back to when i was studying to become a concern and we did a whole week on identifying photographic processes which is where i first encountered otto chrome plates you're right there absolutely studying and i love studying because they're very easy to identify under a microscope you can see all little died areas and they look like miniature stained glass windows perhaps the stained glass manufacture should have been the nervous linz
written in case you did not hear that episode is referring to the fact that there was some concern when color photography first began an autocrat in particular that that painters would be put out of work the instructor she goes on to say failed to mention the fascinating story behind their eventual creation though so thank you for enlightening me further an archive you visited referring to tracy story was very right keep those old photos cold another film photography fun fact early acetate films are kept very cold to prevent them developing was called vinegar syndrome which occurs as acetate plastic degrades and creates ascetic acid
which in addition to causing further degradation also makes everything smell like vinegar early nitrate films are kept very cold so they dont combust thank you again already looking forward to the next episode thank you so much gretchen that's cool i would love to look at one of these potato starch color photo plates under a microscope i think that would be my blowing yeah like magical kaleidoscopic wonder if you would like to write to us you can do history podcast a house to books dot com we are also across the spectrum of social media as missed in history and missed in history that com is also our website where you can come environment archive of every observance ever existed must show notes for any of the shows the tracy and i have worked on together so come and visit as at mister street i will study history together
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Transcript generated on 2020-01-26.