This is a nice review:
This book is so much more than a compilation of Christmas recipes, frugal or otherwise. It is a fascinating history of Christmas food traditions, and an examination of the meaning of memory as it applies to family and tradition. “A true feast has nothing to do with what you eat…but with what you remember,” Jeff Smith writes. The book does indeed stir up memories of Christmases past — but it also made me want to focus on creating memorable experiences for my family to take into the future. The book makes good reading as well as good eating: my husband devoured the book, even reading sections aloud, while I prepared celebratory roast goose and figgy pudding. I look forward to trying more of Smith’s recipes and have no intention of waiting until next Christmas to do so.
Agreed. The book really is “so much more.” Did you know that the “Puritans in America were so upset about the pagan connections with the winter Christmas holiday that they had Christmas outlawed in New England”? “
For the Angels: Angel Hair Pasta with Whipped Cream and Porcini; The Shepherds; A Dish for Each of the Magi; Christmas Roast Goose Dinner
It’s a beautiful book. Each of the players in the Christmas story has a section devoted to his role, with each having a recipe or two that would have been appropriate. The Innkeeper? “I suspect he and his wife ate a lot of soup.” So Barley Soup for the Innkeeper. Mary? “A salad of fresh greens and edible flowers, remembering that she is called the ‘Flower of Heaven’.” The tax collector? “… [T]he tax collectors did very well for themselves… wonderful lamb chops pan-roasted and served with onions sauteed with yogurt and sesame oil.”
The Frug’s overarching theme– in addition, of course, to anticipating and welcoming the Christ Child– is family. Traditions. The Festival of Lights. Favorite Christmas Menus. He leaves us with this thought:
We suffer from Post-Christmas Depression because on our own Christmas does not work. It is not the tree, or the dinner, or the planning, or the weather, or the relatives that make the Mass of Christ. It is the Child. Come to the manger and be amazed. God is confessing His love for us. How utterly amazing.