Celebrate the Holidays with a Traditional Victorian Christmas Dinner

Celebrate the Holidays with a Traditional Victorian Christmas Dinner

No holiday is complete without a lovely meal, and the Brits of Queen Victoria’s time absolutely knew this with their Victorian Christmas Dinner. Since she was the wealthiest person in Great Britain, her table would have been full of all the delicious foods the times had to offer. Meal times were a time for the wealthy to demonstrate their wealth, and this would have been even more for the holiday meal.

First of all, the kitchen of the 1800’s showed some of the influences of the time. The Queen’s food would have been produced on wooden stoves that were new to the century: the Rumford Stove made by Benjamin Thompson was the first wooden stove made, or the Queen’s servants could have been cooking on the Oberlin Stove that was patented in 1834. By the time of her death the servants could have been using the first of the gas stoves that were available. The kitchen would have been a busy place indeed as the servants may have used it for a sleeping quarter, and definitely to bathe in as it was the warmest room in the castle. By the time of the Queen’s death in 1901 the castle would have had access to running water and lighting by gas.

The Victorian Christmas Dinner is similar to what most of us have today, with some charming differences. There was a great admiration (although undoubtedly grudgingly) for French cooking, so the meal would have consisted on many courses. It might have started with a savory soup,and then progressed to the main dish. The meal would center around a large meat: roast beef, or a fowl: goose or turkey were popular. In A Christmas Carol a reformed Scrooge takes great pleasure in buying the biggest goose in the butchery for Tiny Tim and his family, and indeed the roast meat still causes joy. Just like today it would be accompanied with delicious gravy from the pan drippings and flour. There would have been vegetables, although potatoes was the most common, and there would have been fresh dinner rolls with butter and jams and jellies.

Even though Britain is infamous for its fine teas such as Yorkshire Gold, I was relieved to learn that coffee would have been served as well. Of course, Christmas is a time of libation, and a Victorian Christmas dinner would have been the perfect opportunity for that. Perhaps they would have enjoyed the Sherry Cobbler as Dickens described in Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit  “Martin took the glass with an astonished look; applied his lips to the reed; and cast up his eyes once in ecstasy. He paused no more until the goblet was drained to the last drop. ‘This wonderful invention, sir,’ said Mark, tenderly patting the empty glass, ‘is called a cobbler. Sherry Cobbler when you name it long; cobbler, when you name it short.’”

Sherry Cobbler

MAKES 1 SERVINGS

  • 1 orange wheel, plus ½ wheel for serving
  • 1 lemon wheel, plus ½ wheel for serving
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 3 ounces dry amontillado Sherry
  • Mint sprigs and a raspberry (for serving)

Preparation

Muddle 1 orange wheel, 1 lemon wheel, and simple syrup in a pint glass. Add Sherry and pour into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Cover; shake vigorously until outside is frosty, about 30 seconds.

Strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Add more crushed ice, packing into glass and mounding above rim. Garnish with mint, raspberry, ½ orange wheel, and ½ lemon wheel.

Or maybe they drank my favorite

Christmas eggnog

  • 2cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 12  cup sugar
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons
  • additional ground nutmeg

Directions

  1. Bring cream and half and half to simmer in large saucepan. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 4 minutes (do not boil). Strain into bowl. Stir in nutmeg. Cool slightly. (Can be made 1 day ahead, Cover and chill. If desired, rewarm over low heat stirring occasionally, before continuing).
  2. Divide warm or cold mixture amount 6 cups or glasses. Stir 1 tablespoon sherry into each. Sprinkle additional nutmeg over each and serve.

After the meal would come out the grande finale: the Christmas plum pudding. I found a wonderful plum pudding from James Beard, and learned that it had been customary to make this one year ahead and let the flavors mellow. Also in a ordinary family (I don’t know about one that had the Queen as a member) every member would need to stir the pudding at least once for good luck.

SUPERB ENGLISH PLUM PUDDING

Fruit Mixture (To be made 4 days ahead)

  • 1 pound seedless raisins
  • 1 pound sultana raisins
  • 1/2 pound currants
  • 1 cup thinly sliced citron
  • 1 cup chopped candied peel
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound finely chopped suet – powdery fine
  • 1 1/4 cups cognac

 

Pudding

  • 1 1/4 pounds (approximately) fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1 cup sherry or port
  • 12 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cognac

Preparation

    1. Blend the fruits, citron, peel, spices and suet and place in a bowl or jar. Add 1/4 cup cognac, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 days, adding 1/4 cup cognac each day.
    2. Soak the bread crumbs in milk and sherry or port. Combine the well-beaten eggs and sugar. Blend with the fruit mixture. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Put the pudding in buttered bowls or tins, filling them about 2/3 full. Cover with foil and tie it firmly. Steam for 6-7 hours. Uncover and place in a 250°F. oven for 30 minutes. Add a dash of cognac to each pudding, cover with foil and keep in a cool place.
    3. To use, steam again for 2-3 hours and unmold. Sprinkle with sugar; add heated cognac. Ignite and bring to the table. Serve with hard sauce or cognac sauce.

When everything was served it would have been a grand spectacle. The Victorian Christmas dinner would have been served on all the finest china, using all the best silverware.

The Victorian Christmas dinner would be a memorable and beautiful way to celebrate the season, as all of our Christmas dinners should be.

These quality items will help you enjoy a Christmas dinner Victorian style:

Elegant Romantic Rose Victorian Porcelain Teapot And Teacup Duo Beautiful Gift ItemElegant Romantic Rose Victorian Porcelain Teapot And Teacup Duo Beautiful Gift ItemPair Fine English Bone China Mugs - Rose Pinks Chintz - Crown Victorian China, Staffordshire, EnglandPair Fine English Bone China Mugs – Rose Pinks Chintz – Crown Victorian China, Staffordshire, EnglandEating with the Victorians: Fascinating Tale of Victorian Life through the Victorian MealEating with the Victorians: Fascinating Tale of Victorian Life through the Victorian MealEnglish Tea, English Tea, “Best of British” – Mini Tin Triple Pack, Best of British Teas in Mini TinsTaylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea, 7.76 Ounce 100 Tea BagsTaylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea, 7.76 Ounce 100 Tea BagsMatthew Walkers Classic Christmas Pudding - 907g - 2lbMatthew Walkers Classic Christmas Pudding – 907g – 2lbMarks & Spencer Classic Recipe Christmas Pudding 907g (2lb) | Delicately Spiced & Packed with Vine Fruits with Lashings of Cider, Rum & Sherry Made in UKMarks & Spencer Classic Recipe Christmas Pudding 907g (2lb) | Delicately Spiced & Packed with Vine Fruits with Lashings of Cider, Rum & Sherry Made in UKTop Iced Christmas Cake by Norfolk Manor - 32oz - 907gTop Iced Christmas Cake by Norfolk Manor – 32oz – 907gWalkers Shortbread, Strathspey Rich Fruit Cake, 17.6-Ounce BoxWalkers Shortbread, Strathspey Rich Fruit Cake, 17.6-Ounce BoxCadbury Chocolate Cookie Digestive Biscuit, 10.5 oz, 2 pkCadbury Chocolate Cookie Digestive Biscuit, 10.5 oz, 2 pk9-oz. Cadbury Occasions Biscuit Assortment 9 oz each - Gourmet Christmas Gift for the Holidays (2 Items per Order, Not per Case)9-oz. Cadbury Occasions Biscuit Assortment 9 oz each – Gourmet Christmas Gift for the Holidays (2 Items per Order, Not per Case)

2016 PINTEREST PARTY WINTER BLOG HOP

This post is part of the Pinterest Party 2016 Winter Blog Hop. The Pinterest Party is a group that helps people grow their Pinterest following. Find other posts in this blog hop below and see how other people celebrate winter:

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16. Victorian Christmas Party – Celebrate the Holidays with a Traditional Victorian Christmas Dinner