I have not forgotten about this blog; it's just that I've been too busy with utilitarian matters lately to delve much into history. It turns out, however, that my attempt to produce a lot of Christmas presents for my family and friends for little money has a historical basis.
I decided to make sugared cinnamon almonds to give as small gifts. What I had forgotten is that the tradition of making sugar-and-spice coated nuts has a long history. Recipes for nuts coated with sugar and spices go back at least to the Renaissance and, in some parts of the world, are much older. If you count similar recipes that don't use sugar, the tradition turns out to be older still. The ancient Egyptians preserved nuts and seeds with honey, and so did the Romans, according to the Food Timeline. I used a recipe for my almonds from one of Stephanie O'Dea's books, but the Medieval Cookery page has a redaction of a 16th century German recipe for sugared almonds that my readers might want to try. Unfortunately there will be no posts about traditional Christmas food this year. I am spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my mother-in-law and the rest of my husband's family, and Christmas Eve dinner is going to be Chinese takeout. But why not? It's the people that make the occasion, not just the food, and we have some great Chinese restaurants in our area.