‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly

And suddenly Christmas is almost upon us once more. Despite the difficulties of the past year, it has crept up seemingly faster than ever. I should have been more prepared, after all the shops were playing seasonal music since November, cards and decorations and seasonal food on sale back in September and the Christmas movies on TV since the summer! Not that I have much to prepare. As it has been for the past 20 years, ours will be a quiet time, just Dave and me and my mother, who finally decided yesterday she did indeed want to come to us again. No presents, no fuss, no crackers, just enjoyable food and a little drink or two and even more enjoyable company with the Christmas tree twinkling in the corner, and hopefully a good movie or two to watch on TV.

Talking of TV, the Christmas advertisements haven’t been up to their usual standard this year, in our opinion, although there is one that has moved me to tears. No silly song, indeed, no dialogue whatsoever but the sentiment is so strong it brings a lump to my throat every time I watch it.

https://youtu.be/yg4Mq5EAEzw

With my mother being German, we were bought up with many of the German Christmas traditions, from the Christmas tree never being put up until Christmas Eve, when us children were in bed so it became an extra special magical Christmas morning, to the Advent Calendars, sent from Germany by our grandmother (Oma), years before they became available or popular in the UK. They were simple affairs, a little religious scene behind every dated window or door, and lots of glitter. No chocolates or treats or perfume or even bottles of gin that are so popular nowadays – the ones for adults, that is. These came each year in a large parcel sent from Germany at the end of November, along with a homemade Stollen, Lebkucken, iced gingerbread hearts, packets of Dr Oekter vanilla sugar (because Mum couldn’t get any in the UK), special coffee beans, our presents from Oma, along with other items for Mum and Dad. I will never forget the aroma that filled the house those days when the parcel arrived and opened. Now Stollen and Lebkucken and other German treats are readily available here, much to my family’s delight although nothing yet beats Oma’s baking.

Lovely memories of childhood Christmases fill me each year, and for many a year I have been on a quest to find a recipe my mother would make just after the festivities were over. Years ago you couldn’t buy beer in the supermarkets like you can now. If you wanted to drink beer at home, especially for parties, you bought glass flagons of it from the off-licence section in the pub. When you needed more supplies, someone had to take the empty bottles to the off-licence to be refilled. Of course, the beer went flat very quickly if not drunk and, rather than waste it, my mother would use some of it in beef stews and casseroles and as a special treat, make beer soup! I can taste it now, in my mind. But I have never been able to find the recipe for it. Mother cannot remember the recipe now, nor can she find her German cookery book in which it was written. All I can remember is she used to put custard powder in it.

I have spent many years trawling recipe books and the internet to no avail. Yes, there are recipes out there, but they all include cheese and made with lager, all claiming to be the original German beer soup, but cheese nor lager was ever used in ours or in that Oma made. Try as I might to recreate it adjusting from those recipes, I failed every time. However, a few days ago I came across a site that had many old German recipes from a cookery book dated 1897 and low and behold, there was one for beer soup that sounds very much like the one I know.

Beer Soup
1 cup dark beer
1 cup water
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Pinch salt
1 egg yolk
1 heaping tablespoon flour
Place egg and flour in a heat safe bowl; set aside. Heat beer, water, sugar, and salt until just before boiling. Pour beer slowly over egg and flour, constantly whisking.  Return to pan. Serve hot.

I haven’t tried making it yet, but I intend to.

Of course, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a carol or two, so here is one of my favourites “Oh Holy Night” sung by four gorgeous hunks to sign off with. But before I go, I want to thank you all for your friendship and support during this difficult year and wish each and every one of you a Happy, Safe, Merry and Enjoyable Christmas, no matter how you are celebrating yours. See you in the New Year.

https://youtu.be/a5j_XuATgRU

Kit Domino’s website and blogs

9 responses to “‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly

  1. Wow, you’ve definitely filled me with holiday happiness. The Il Divo rendition of Oh Holy Night was amazing! And I’ve seen that ad. I’m with you. It bring tears to my eyes. 🙂 The beer soup sounds a little strange, but if you say it’s good, I’ll take your word for it. Merry Christmas, Kit. I hope yours is filled with peace and good health.

  2. Loved the commercial one of my favorites. Let us know how it goes with the beer soup. My grandmother was German and an amazing cook but I don’t remember anything like it.

    This year is certainly going down in history, a lot of traditions on hold that I’ll never ever take for granted again. The immediate family will celebrate together and count our blessings.

    Merry Christmas

    • Not done the beer soup yet. Need to purchase another bottle when we go shopping this week! Hope you enjoyed your Christmas. Who knows, quiet Christmases may become the new tradition for many families. 🙂

  3. Great post, Kit. I love your early family traditions and love that now you will have a quiet day. Life cycles, right? And I too, love to think back on Christmases past. For some reason, this year, I am more melancholy about the family members who have been gone for a very long time. I’m missing them a lot more this season. I hope you and your mother and husband have a lovely Christmas. Looking forward to a new year. AND I have never heard of beer soup. I may have to try it. My hubs isn’t very adventurous with food, so, I’ d have to eat it all. 🙂 I made pumpkin soup once and you’d have thought I was poisoning him. 🙂 Thank you for your friendship. as well. Jillian

    • Thank you too, Jillian. My husband isn’t adventurous with food either. Took me nearly 20 years to get him to eat rice, and 40 to appreciate yogurt. I think he will pass on the beer soup though when I get round to making it. Take care and hope despite all the woes of the past year, 2021 will be good for us all. 🙂

  4. Lovely post, Kit. Like you, I remember those much simpler advent calendars and have to say I preferred them. These days it’s all gotten so commercial and some of the advent calendars cost hundreds of pounds! Ridiculous.
    Love the idea of the beer with custard power 🙂
    And thanks for posting the video links. The coca cola one gets me right in the feels!
    Hope you had a lovely Christmas x

    • It’s a pity TV always edits the good adverts after being shown a few times, the shorter version of the Coke one doesn’t feel right. And yes, Christmas is far too commercialised now. Haven’t tried making beer soup yet. Need to hide the beer as Dave keeps finding the bottles I buy and partaking of! 🙂

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