Food Calendar

What's happening when and where in the world of food.

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December

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    The stores are still bursting with apples, fresh from the harvest. A few of the varieties you will see year round, because they either store well or are brought in from other parts of the world throughout the year.
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    What's not to like about fritters? Small cakes of dough fried up in butter or oil, hmmm. Fritters can be savoury or sweet.
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    St Bibiana, aka Saint Viviana, is the Patron Saint of Drunks. Bibiana's family were Christians in Rome during the persecutions of the Emperor Julian.
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    Lord knows at times who picks these days. Our traditional concept of Gazpacho involves tomatoes, and tomatoes certainly aren't at their best or cheapest at this time of the year anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.
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    St Nicholas, aka Sinterklaas, is the protector of children. As Sinterklaas, he brings gifts for them in the Netherlands.
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    Brownies are relatively easy to make and as such, they are a good way to get those old grey cells limbered up for the serious baking that lays ahead in the next few weeks. They are also good, plain, homey food to have at a time of year when rich excesses are just about to bombard us.
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    In Sweden, today is called Luciadagen. It marks the start of Christmas celebrations in Sweden, and the start of a festival of lights.
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    Saturnalia in Rome was a week-long winter celebration, during which the Winter Solstice occurred. It was celebrated for over 500 years.
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    For once, a special food day that actually ties in with something you might be doing anyway! Bake Cookies Day is a good time to get the last of your Christmas baking done, if you're so inclined. For many people, though, with the rush of everything else to do leading up to Christmas, it will be Buy Cookies Day.
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    Forefather's Day is celebrated in the New England area of America to commemorate when the pilgrims landed on 21 December 1620. A meal served includes a version of succotash that has large pieces of meat in it, meant to be sliced at the table. It's particularly marked in Plymouth, Massachusetts, with ceremonies jointly led by the Old Colony Club and the Mayflower Society.
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    Tom Bawcock's Eve is celebrated in the village of Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel) in Cornwall, near Penzance, England. A fishing village of winding, narrow streets, Mousehole is the place most closely associated with Stargazey Pie on account of the Mousehole Cat story.
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    Nobody really needs a reminder to have Egg Nog at this time of year, but perhaps it's a reminder to Egg Nog lovers to get their fill for the year while you still can procure it easily -- premade at stores. For those who hate Egg Nog and try to avoid it at Christmas, this is probably a nightmare, realizing that someone has even proclaimed this Egg Nog Day.
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    The early Church in Jerusalem celebrated Christ's birth on the Epiphany (6th January.) In the final quarter of the 4th century (e.g. 375 AD onwards), the Jerusalem Church switched to the practice of the Church in Rome of celebrating it on the 25th December instead.
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    The 26th of December, the day after Christmas, is an official holiday in the Australia, Canada [1], New Zealand, and the UK [2]. If it falls on a weekend, people will get the Monday off as well.
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    The 26th of December has been dubbed Candy Cane Day, though no one seems to know quite by whom. Perhaps it was some mother, starting to panic over how many candy canes from this year would be joining those already left over from last year -- and deciding the day after Christmas to launch an immediate campaign to shift them.
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    Kwanzaa is a week-long festival that starts 26 December and goes until 1 January. It is an American-invented holiday now being promoted as a world-wide holiday (some wags joke that it was invented by Boxing Day deprived Americans.) The colours of the festival are red, black and green, and the terminology used is all Swahili.
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    The plainer name for Bicarbonate of Soda Day is really just "baking soda day", but though sadly that doesn't have the same cachet, does it? To mark the day, you could bake something that uses baking soda. Or, just think of today as a good day to replace the box of deodorizing baking soda in your fridge, in time for the New Year.
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    Hogmanay, New Year's Eve in Scotland, is arguably a bigger date in the Scottish calendar than Christmas -- so big, that people even have the 1st and the 2nd of January off of work in Scotland. Any household chores that have been started have to be finished by Hogmanay; it is considered bad luck to carry them over into the New Year.
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