Dean Martin was right, it is a marshmallow world in the winter. Some of the season’s most festive carols are chock-a-block with edible écriture - but most of us have no idea what the heck we’re singing about. Kind of like that time when we all thought Elton John’s “Rocket Man” was just about a man traveling to outer space or that Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” was all about making dessert. Yeah, not so much.
So what the heck is a figgy pudding? Is wassailing something you do on a boat? We’re whipping out our Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Pin to translate the food and drink references in a few of the season’s most scrumptious tunes. Sing along, won’t you?
"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
In “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” carolers downright demand figgy pudding, so if their proposal was acquiesced to, what exactly would they get?
In this sense, pudding is not what most Americans would imagine: the thick, creamy, often gelatinous, no chew variety. Instead, the song references pudding in the traditional English or British school of thought.
Across the pond, the word "pudding" is used as a generic term for soufflé, starchy or custard-like dishes that are either boiled or steamed. They can be sweet or savory.
Figgy pudding, sometimes referred to as Christmas or plum pudding, typically contains dried figs, spices, breadcrumbs, eggs, brandy or other boozy flavorings, like cognac or rum. The classic Christmas pudding is also made with chopped suet, but many modern recipes opt out of its inclusion. Think of it as a moister fruitcake.
“Here We Come A-Wassailing”
While the song is better known as “Here We Go A-Caroling” to some, wassail is a spiked, mulled hot punch that is usually made with cider or wine, cinnamon, cloves, sugar and apples.
According to Joseph J. Walsh’s Were They Wise Men Or Kings?: The Book of Christmas Questions, the Middle Age toast “Waes hail” or “to your health” would be employed when handing someone a drink. The proper response was “drinc hail” or “drink to your health.” Thus, wassail can also simply mean to merrymake or raise one’s glass.
The Nutcracker's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"
While sugarplum trees actually do exist and grow in warm climates like their native Australia, the famous dancing visions of sugar plums referenced in Clement Clarke Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" were actually sugar-coated, plum-shaped sweetmeat or candies. The confections are balls of chopped dried fruits, nuts, honey and spices - typically cardamom, anise and fennel seeds - that have been rolled in sugar.
"Good King Wenceslas”
As for “Good King Wenceslas," the Feast of Stephen is in reference to St. Stephen's Day, or December 26. This day commemorates the life of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr from Jerusalem (he was stoned to death in approximately 36 AD). Despite its mealtime moniker, it's merely a Catholic feast day, which sadly has nothing to do with food but rather acts as a day to commemorate that particular canonized person.
Did we miss any palatable poetry? Let us know in the comments and we’ll put on our detective caps.
certainly like your website however you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to inform the truth nevertheless I'll certainly come back again.
I'll say it slowly and clearly so you can understand:
B.L.O.W. I.T. O.U.T. Y.O.U.R. A.S.S.
don't forget yorkshire pudding,it is served with prime rib usually.i serve it that way in my house anyway.Merry Christmas!!!
alex,yes it is about 2 people in love just having conversational fun.maybe he'll get a kiss under the mistletoe,and then they'll sit by the cozy fire.suet is also used in mince meat pie recipes.Merry Christmas
I made it with sausage. Y U K!!! Don't even think about it.
What about telling us where christmas Decorations come from such as the Christmas Tree, The Candy Cane, A wreath, stockings...I know a little but I think it would be interesting to here the origins of these traditions.
Two versions I know from for the tree, feel free to disagree:
1) Northern Rome pagans worshipped the tree; Christians (probably former pagans who liked the style) decided to use the decoration as a symbol of ever-faithfullness (ever-green) and use it as a witness to their pagan neighbors. Same tree, different meaning entirely.
2) Again, late Roman era, Germanic area. A Christian observes a group of tree worshippers in the act and chops down their tree (an Oak by the story) and gives them a lecture. After he is gone, the tree-huggers go back to where their tree was, and find an evergreen tree has grown in its place. This is considered a minor miracle, and the whole are converts to Christianity, taking the evergreen tree as a symbol of their new life.
Candy Cane is a treat with white and red, smbolizing purity and sacrifice (I.E. the birth of the Saviour, and his eventual death). It is in the shape of a shephards crook, because He is the Good Shephard.
Stockings I think are from the Dutch, only they have shoes (story of St. Nicholas and the poor family). St Nicholas puts money in the shoes of a poor man's daughters so they can get married (dowry was REALLY important back then), so people leave their shoes out so they can get free stuff as well.
Not sure about the wreath either, anyone else know?
Mistletoe – a portent device. Hiding the berries under the pillow of a single person (almost always a young lady) was supposed to cause them to dream their future mate. Hiding it beneath the pillow of a married person was supposed to cause them to dream of the fidelity or infidelity of their mate.
The wreath was to ward off bad spirits, and usually included decorations like holly, which were believe to keep bad spirits out.
The yule log was to usher in good luck and fortune for the coming year.
Most of these were symbols of pagan religions in the region at the time. Converting didn't necessarily take the old superstitions away from those who'd held them for hundreds of years.
What utter nonsense – Any moderately competent historian can tell you where figgy pudding originates. The original recipe called Figgy Dowdy was composed of ships biscuit, rum, pork fat and raisins or currants – all available on early sailing ships. You can find the modern recipe here:
I am reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The Crachits' pudding is served flaming with brandy and with a sprig of holly stuck in it. No razzleberry dressing; that was just in an animated version called Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. It's a musical so they had to sing about something.
Figgy Pudding and Plum Pudding are two different things. I have tasted both, though while I have actually made Figgy Pudding (or a version thereof), I've never made Plum Pudding. My mother made Plum Pudding one year and told me she wasn't sure which was worse–cleaning up the unholy mess in the kitchen or watching the pudding steam like a hawk to make sure the water level stayed right. Never again, she swore, never again. I always tried to learn my mama. :+)
That photo just screams...."Trying to hard". LOL diversity, yea, but, no, it is a joke waiting to happen. CNN should rename to, KNN, kumbaya news network.
What's this razzleberry dressing that Tiny Tim craves?
BTW. Anyone who's lived or traveled in New York City will wax "melodic" over "chestnuts roasted," since they are sold on many lower Manhattan street corners and smell so good.
If you haven't baked your own chestnuts, do so and quickly! They're a treat.
Buy some in your local produce store and, before cooking, notch them–so they won't explode in the fire (or in your oven, if you don't have a fireplace)–rub on a little oil for baking purposes and then cook for about 10 minutes and then let them cool a little before eating.
Done properly, you'll go back and make some more!!
Snowbunny! Get your head out the snow bank. Back when this song was written NOTHING you are thinking was even around! i.e. Date rape, drugged drinks, etc. Get a grip! The song originated around the 1940's or 1950's. The couple is in love, no subliminal wording included. I sang that song as a kid! Somebody save me from you modern day idiots that see garbage in everything. So what do think roasting chestnuts are? Torture by fire or something equally idiotic???
My wife makes "plum pudding " at Christmas, which has dried fruit (dates and raisns) and nuts in it and is a superb equivalent of coffee cake.
She makes a "spiked" sauce to go with it, but I just eat it plain.
The best song, filled with double entendre, is "Mama's got a Squeeze Box" (which she plays all night and Daddy.......)!
Dean Martin's "Baby It's Cold Outside" is likely the best.
Marta, bread pudding is yet another old English recipe. It used to be a favourite way to use up stale bread. My mother, now aged 94, grew up with her grandparents in England and learned to cook quite a number of Victorian era dishes from her grandmother, who was born in the late 1860s. I grew up with home made (yes, it was boiled in a cloth bag) Christmas pudding and fruit cake. Many of those old recipes would be too high fat for modern tastes, but others are excellent.
Figgy or plum pudding beats fruitcake hands down! It is rich and moist and just gets better and better with each passing day (some 'age' to it is key.)
My family has always made "bread pudding" as a holiday dish. I think that it is an Americanized version of the English recipe. I make mine with raisins in it, but I'm sure that figs would be great, too.
How about "Baby It's Cold Outside," featuring such lines as 'What's in this drink' and "no, no, no' leading to his basic ultimatum that, should she leave his cave (or wherever the hell he lived) she would "catch pneumonia and die." Probably the biggest attack on the 'no means no' campaign to be accepted by popular culture.
Read the posts above, this has already been covered...
Pudding in England is just the name for the course that comes after the main course (entree). If an englishman asks you if you want pudding, he doesn't mean brown goop!
Hmmmm....I always thought (and will continue to think) that "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was a conversation between two people deeply in love who don't want their evening to end. Hasn't that ever happened to anyone? You know it's getting late, you should leave....but you really don't want to. You keep saying "I should go", but really looking for an excuse, ANY excuse not to? As for HIS lyrics, same deal. He doesn't want her to leave either. Not date rape. Why does everything have to be so negative these days? :( This happened with my husband and I all the time (pre-wedded bliss), we would take HOURS to end an evening. We'd often joke that we should start the saying goodbye part right after saying hello, then maybe we'd actually part before 3am. :D
"You lips looks delicious" – really? no one's heard this said in any of the old movies? It just means she looks kissable. When someone says "that guy is hot!" They don't mean he's on fire, so why does "your lips looks delicious" need to mean he's a cannibal? :D
"Say, what's in the drink?" -not drugs, just another play at an excuse to make the decision she wants to make, yet not have to be responsible for it.
I think it is a very sweet song, it's one of my favourites. :)
Robota: Roasted chestnuts are NUMMY!! When I was a kid (in the 70's) we used to roast them in the fireplace at Christmastime. http://www.ehow.com/about_4566818_roasting-chestnuts.html
it takes a jew to write one of the best christmas songs, white christmas, xD
It also took a Jew to start Christianity.
What do you know! Christianity mentioned at Christmas time! Congratulations – maybe now there will be a few real Christmas songs mentioned – such as Silent Night, Away in a Manger, etc.
The men and women who fought for our freedom in WWs I and II would have been amazed & shocked at how the few atheists have controlled so many of the media people. Or is it the money of people such as Soros who want a World government he can control?
Or are the politicians and their buddies so frightened of our early bases of integrity, honor, care for others, and other kind and considerate actions?
I have a recipe for plum pudding, and a recipe for figgy pudding, and one year I made them both, and they were both decidedly very different. The plum pudding looked a rich chocolate brown, and the fig was more comparable to a pie. It had a top and bottom "crust" (the recipe for which was nearly identical to pie crust) My family and I liked the fig better than the plum.
chestnuts roasting on an open fire ??? what's that about ?
People used to have fires in their houses intentionally. They kept them under control by situating the flames in a stone or brick container, called a "fireplace," or, a "place for fire."
Chestnuts were considered (and still are in some areas..mmmm...) a treat, especially if heated in the fireplace (right next to the coals), popped open while still hot, and liberally sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, then consumed.
Chestnuts were roasted in an open fire. Then eaten.
Sorry for the sarcasm, easy to read too much into lyrics these days.
"They kept them under control by situating the flames in a stone or brick container, called a 'fireplace,' or, a 'place for fire.'"
You, my friend, are awesome.
Dude, that was too da mn funny! Thanks!
So what is Rocket Man about?
D-Ann: Rocket Man is based on a Ray Bradbury story, both Elton John and Bernie Taupin have said so many times. It is also in the liner notes on one of the greatest hits CDs.
Actually, when we were in Portugal in 1970, Lisbon was the "sugar plum" capital (according to Michelin guide). We went searching everywhere before realizing the confectioners with prunes in the window were selling "sugar plums". What a disillusionment! Sugar plums no longer dance over OUR heads! Prunes! Go figure!
Check out song meanings at songfacts.com. Rocket Man has several meanings according to the people who post.
So I'm naive – I actually thought Rocket Man was about just that. Now I have to google it and find out the real meaning.
I was told it was about someone being on drugs. Post back what you find out! I don't have the ability on my work computer.
Rocket Man is more abot how astronauts are no longer so heroic. The last time we got excited over astronauts was when John Glenn went back into space (kudos man!).
Shuttles/rockets are going off like 3-5 times a year now and their passengers never get the adulation people like Armstrong, Aldrin or the Mercury Seven. When was the last time you heard about a parade for an astronaut?
I actually like the song! I hear the nick Lachey-Jessica Simpson version once in a while- it makes me laugh cuz they split up after recording it.
they also mention (in the original) ...just a cigarette more... not said in the modern lyrics
I know! I heard that song the other day and actually listened to the words. It creeps me out to. I would just punch that guy right in the gut, and then get the hell outta there.
But I still really like singing along... Just hold the Rohypnol, please!
How about "Baby it's cold outside"... that song gives me the creeps. The guys like ready to commit date rape or something. Blegh!
LOL how's that? maybe i don't listen close enough to the words...
How's that??? she KEEPS telling him she must go and he keeps telling her to stay and have a drink!
lol never thought of it that way. is kinda creepy
Maybe the batteries in his Fleshlight died and he's lonely.
haha that's nasty
I know! Female line: "Say, what's in this drink?" - EEK! ... and ICK.
A local radio station here in Mpls plays it almost every morning but they make up their own words. It's really funny. HA!
See what I mean- A roofie! LMAO
That is one of my favourite holiday songs... I was listening to it this morning thinking, ICK... It was the line "Your lips look delicious"
But then this morning I read that it was originally written from the point of view of a male wolf seducing dinner.
i think if you listen closely, the girl sings, "Whats in this Drink?" hahahahaha
It's not about date rape, jeeze. You'll see evil anywhere. It was written by a husband for his wife. They performed together in clubs. It was originally meant to be playful as she acted coy.
If you have a twisted mind (or a history of bad dates) most love songs turn out to be sorta creepy/stalker-ish: "Every Breath You Take", "Into the Night", "I want to come over".
Oh c'mon its just flirty and fun and no more than that. Listen to the version sung by Ann Margaret and Brian Setzer. Now if you want creepy, how about the song sung by Chris on the Rankin Bass kids movie "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"
If you sit on my lap today a kiss a gift is the price you'll pay...
Would never fly in this era. (Freakin molester!)
I think it's "a Christmas gift is the price you'll pay"
You want a scary version of it? Youtube last weeks episode of Glee when the two gays sang it. Now THAT was scary, and made an awfully good song, horrible!
listen again Miles.
Didn't realize that Marshmallow World was also sung by Dean Martin. The version I always hear on the radio is the one by Johnny Mathis. Blegh.
Figgy pudding? I thought it said "Bring me some freakin' pudding! And bring some right here!"
I have never laughed out loud to a post – until yours.
You made my day!
If you are serious that's the funniest thing I've read in a long time!
I love misunderstood lyrics, Thank-you! That was awesome...... I will never forget the day I found my Dad singing "Lucy in the sky with high hands" Apparently it made sense to him that lucy was waving.....
Suet? I have an old Texas Chili recipe that calls for lean beef and a chunk of suet. Makes for Good Chili, which by the way is a traditional Texas Christmas dish don't you know.
And Rocket Man isn't about space travel? I'll have to go back and listen to that again. Hmmm.
In "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas", how many of today's kids know what is meant by "Take a look in the five and ten"?
It is a reference to five and dime stores. But then, I'm a history major so I should know this!
“Rocket Man” was not about a man traveling to outer space?
I always thought it was about a guy getting high.
me too! wearing many hats and big sunglasses...
Whoever wrote this article has been misled to think that "Rocket Man" is more than what it is: A song about how astronauts have become common. Elton John was asked about the meaning of the song long ago. A good source for information about the song is on Wikipedia. Maybe the Eatocracy editors have been reading the Urban Dictionary late at night a tad too often while hopped up on Jolt Cola.
Figgy Pudding::the correct name is "Figgy Duff" No figs in the figgy pudding/duff. It is a traditional Newfoundland Canada bag pudding that is steamed. It typically contains butter, flour, sugar, molasses and raisins and it is boiled in a bag.
My Aunt usually makes Figgy Duff for us when we go to Newfoundland. My mom tries here in the States but its not as tasty. The sauce that they put on top is perfection. They also have excellent fruitcake that's not made with scary neon fruit like here. It's the traditional top layer for wedding cakes.
Feast of Steven is also boxing day which is when foods and such are rounded up and distributed to the poor so they can eat and be warm for Chrristmas. Thats what King was doing.
Suet while technically not 'required' in modern recipes, is hard to substitute adequately and get the same results. The crumb of a traditional pudding made with suet has a richer taste and different structure from one made with modern substitutes. I'd make it more often except it's hard to get fresh suet most of the time!
I always thought that suet was something you put in a bird feeder.
Suet is the fat that collects around the kidneys of certain ruminants – usually cows or sheep. The suet usually used in puddings is from lambs. This fat is rendered and mixed with bird seed and put out as the equivalent of a high calorie shake or snack, to give birds extra energy to get through hard winters.
It is a rich and creamy fat which, for puddings, is chopped finely and mixed into the 'dough' for the pudding. The pudding is then either put into a pudding mold (made of metal, not plastic) or sometimes boiled in a bag (muslin, I think, was the traditional choice, because of its tight weave) and boiled for a long time.
The result (in traditional English Christmas pudding) is almost cake-like, with a rich golden color and a slightly spongy look, with bubbles created by the gradual melting of the suet. No other fat melts in that way to create that precise texture. There is nothing meaty about the taste, it's a rich, sweet dessert, usually served topped with a brandy and butter or cream sauce (hard sauce).
Incidentally, another common use for suet is by hunters when grinding up venison into hamburger patties. Venison on its own is low in fat, and the deer's own fat typically cannot be used as it has a nasty, bitter flavor. So they grind some suet into it to keep the meat from being unpalatably dry. Beef suet is typically used for this.
**The More You Know**
That gave me the giggles. Thanks, I needed that!
That sounds so ridiculously delicious.
I don't use suet myself but it serves the same function as using vegetable shortening in a recipe (albeit as others mentioned with a slightly different texture and taste). Unless you are a vegetarian who is strict about checking ingredients or have never eaten pastry, you've probably eaten suet.
Looks like "Queen of Everything" is going to go right on thinking suet is just for bird feeders. Dumbass.
Not quite Corvus but I will go right on thinking that you're a tool.
Looks like the guy on the male enhancement comercials.
I never understood the whole Don we now, our gay apparel verse!
They are now wearing and showing off their festive clothing.
The dictionary is now available online for free if you don't have access to a printed copy in your home or via a local library. It is very useful for looking up definitions of words which one does not understand.
That photo is a riot!
I don't think the couple on the left are singing the same song. Take another gander... He's singin' "OHHH" and she's singin' "AAAA". LMAO!
LOL maybe he's the base?
He's just showing her his "O" face.
JJ, very funny!!
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