Sunday, January 1, 2012

The 8th Day of Christmas

Happy New Year everyone, here's to hoping that 2012 is exceedingly better than 2011. While most people are writing about their resolutions and reflecting on the past year I'm not going to do that. Honestly, I am completely ready for 2011 to show me the tail lights and fade into oblivion and never look back. So, moving forward, how about those 12 days of Christmas?

A lot of people have all ready taken down the Christmas trees and packed away all their holiday decor. But, since Sam and I keep Christmas and the spirit of giving in our hearts year round it's always tough to packed it away after the celebrating it done. Most people think the 12 days of Christmas song is about the twelve days leading up to the holiday, when actually, the first day is Christmas Day and goes forward until January 5th or the Eve of Epiphany.

The gifts given for each of the 12 days come from "True Love" in the song. Of course whenever I hear or write the words "true love" I think of The Princess Bride .

Today, is the first day of 2012 and it's also the 8th day of Christmas. The gifts given in the song are the following:
(Jan. 5th) Twelve Drummers Drumming
(Jan. 4th) Eleven Pipers Piping
(Jan. 3rd) Ten Lords a Leaping
(Jan. 2nd) Nine Ladies Dancing
(Jan. 1st) Eight Maids a Milking
(Dec. 31st) Seven Swans a Swimming
(Dec. 30th) Six Geese a Laying
(Dec. 29th) Five Golden Rings
(Dec. 28th) Four Calling Birds
(Dec. 27th) Three French Hens
(Dec. 26th) Two Turtle Doves
(Dec. 25th) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree. 

My favorite maid of all time is Amelia Bedelia , although I don't recall any book with her actually milking a cow. But, you never know, there may be one. The books featuring Amelia Bedelia are fantastically silly and fun to read for young readers and always end with a sweet treat.

Amelia Bedelia takes everything literally. When she is told to "dust the furniture" she actually puts a layer of dusting powder on everything. When she is told to "dress the chicken" for dinner she makes little clothes for it to wear. And when she is asked to make a "sponge cake" she puts actual sponges into it. The sponge cake, although funny, I always found a bit odd since the only reason Amelia Bedelia was able to keep her job was because she was such a good baker.

Speaking of of our winter time favorites is bread pudding. This is a great dessert for the eighth day of Christmas given it's heavy on the dairy (milk maids). It's also a great comfort food for those freezing temperatures we're sure to face in the coming months up here in New England. The following recipe is a combination of one from Yankee Magazine and my own experiments in baking.

Cranberry Chocolate Winter Bread Pudding
3 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate covered dried cranberries
1 loaf French bread

Preheat oven to 350F

1.  Butter the bottom and sides of a casserole or baking dish.
2.  Mix together all the ingredients except for the bread in a large bowl.
3.  Cut the bread into bite sized cubes or if baking with kids just let them tear the bread apart with their clean hands. Add the bread to the milk mixture turning it gently until each piece is fully saturated.
4.  Pour the bread mixture into the buttered dish, it should fit snugly.
5.  Sprinkle the top with sugar and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.
6.  Serve warm, topped with whipped cream.

1 comment:

  1. Yay, I'm not the only one..........I always leave our tree up to the Epiphany!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!