Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Partridge In A Pear Tree

Like many people I was confused about the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Did it start 12 days before or 12 days after or something in between?  I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I never gave it much thought until I read "The Autobiography of Santa Claus" by Jeff Guinn to my son for the first time 8 years ago.  The book tells the history of where St. Nicholas actually came from and has other historical figures join Santa on his gift giving mission throughout the years.  My son Sam was instantly a fan of Leonardo DaVinci after we read this book and told his kindergarten class all about the book and the spirit of giving rather than getting.  It's a great book for children who are questioning the existing of Santa Claus and teaches the real meaning of Christmas.

Now even at 13 Sam still asks to read Jeff Guinn's Christmas books together.  Last year we read "The Great Santa Search" and this year we are reading "How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas". 

As far as the twelve days go they start on December 25th  until the beginning of Epiphany also known as Three King's day on January 5th.  The gifts true love gives in the song are: 12 Drummers Drumming, Eleven Pipers Piping, Ten Lords a Leaping, Nine Ladies Dancing, Eight Maids a Milking, Seven Swans a Swimming, Six Geese a Laying, Five Golden Rings, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.  According to the PNC Christmas Index the price tag for the those gifts in 2010 would be $23,439.

I thought I'd write some blog posts giving alternative craft ideas, recipes, movies etc. to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas  based on the gifts in the song.

I found this recipe in"Yankee Magazine's Breakfast & Brunch Recipes".  And since Sam loves maple syrup almost on a Buddy the Elf  level, I chose this recipe for the pear tree portion of the song.

Maple-Poached Pears 
(makes 12 servings)
6 Large Pears 
2 Quarts boiling water
3/4 Cup maple syrup
12 Ounces French vanilla yogurt
12 Mint sprigs
Nutmeg for garnish

Peel and core the pears and cut them in half.  Combine the boiling water and the syrup and poach the pears 20 minutes in the mixture.  Remove the pears from the water and drain them.  To serve, spoon some of the yogurt onto each of 12 glass plates.  Place one pear half, cut side down, on each plate and garnish with a sprig of mint and dust with a little nutmeg. 

My favorite Partridge however is not of the feathered, cooing variety but Shirley Jones of "The Partridge Family".  I just love her in "The Music Man" with Robert Preston and a young Ron Howard.

This is a great family film to share with the whole family. 

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