We’re not new to the concept of holiday-related foods; in Israel you can pretty much keep track of the holiday calendar by checking out local bakeries and supermarkets. I think there’s a special food or food category for literally every Jewish holiday. Except perhaps for Yom Kippur… which is a fast, so that makes sense. I’m sure visitors to Israel would be just as baffled by the sudden appearance of triangle-shaped pastries around March, or the influx of bread-substitutes during Passover, as we are baffled by this time of year.
But what a joyous bafflement it is! There are SO MANY different seasonal treats, and each restaurant, cafe and supermarket chain has its own version. There are still Christmas-y foodstuffs I haven’t tried, and some that I’m not even sure what they are. Thankfully, there are at least two more weeks to find out. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!
And just so you don’t leave here confused:
– Mince pies are buttery pastries filled with a mixture of fruit and spices. It actually used to contain meat, but nowadays it contains mostly calories (and holiday cheer!)
– Mulled wine (get it? get it?) is basically red wine with spices, served hot. It’s a wonderful way to get tipsy when it’s too cold for a beer.
– Stuffing, I just learned this year, is comprised of breadcrumbs “and anything else you want”. It’s traditionally used to stuff turkeys, but why go through the trouble of getting it into chicken if you can just put it next to chicken and enjoy it just as much.
– Brussels sprouts are known in Hebrew as “buds cabbage”, as in – tiny cabbage. Which is what they are. Why bring Belgium into it?