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Festive Food Traditions

Here in the UK, we are big on traditions – in fact we have some pretty odd traditions, but Christmas time has some of the most deeply ingrained traditions of all. Food plays a huge part in these traditions, but do you know where they come from and why we still practice them?


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Christmas Day dinner just wouldn’t be the same without the turkey at the centre of the table, but why has this bird become synonymous with the festive period?

Turkey wasn’t introduced to Britain until 1526 when livestock was incredibly valuable. Rather than eat more valuable animals such as cows who produced milk and chickens who produced eggs, turkeys became a great option for Christmas dinner. Henry VIII was the first English king to eat turkey on Christmas Day, but the tradition really caught on in the 1950s.

Christmas Pudding

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While many people would rather tuck into something like our sticky toffee pudding for Christmas Day dessert, the traditional Christmas pudding is still hugely popular. However, the original pudding is not like it is today!

The origins lie in the 14th century with a porridge-like food known as frumenty. This was made from beef, mutton, raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. By the 16th century, frumenty was becoming more like the dessert we know today featuring eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit, beer and spirits. However, in the 17th century the Puritans banned the pudding, and it was not re-established until 1714.

The pudding has many traditions attached to it. For example, some say that it should have 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples, while the sprig of holly on the top is thought to represent Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Brussels Sprouts

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This addition to the dinner table can divide families, but for many, it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without a good helping of sprouts!

The main reason for eating these little green veggies at Christmas time seems to just be related to their ability to grow in cold weather. As they can withstand frost and low temperatures, they are a reliable addition to the Christmas plate which can be picked from the garden on Christmas Day and enjoyed (or not!).

There are many foods that we save just for the festive period, and we hope you enjoyed some of those delicious foods with us at The Royal over Christmas. If not, there are plenty of other yummy meals you can enjoy with us! We’d love to see you, so book a table with us by calling 01524 702 608. In the meantime, make sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all our latest news.