What's on your holiday dinner table? Be it seven fishes or seven cartons of Chinese takeout, it's surely steeped in tradition. Several classic Christmas recipes (roast beast anyone?) began appearing a few centuries ago and were made around the same time as our antique jewelry.
So, put on your favorite gems and pour yourself a glass of egg nog (enjoyed since the Middle Ages)! It's party time.
A Georgian holiday table might feature marrow bones, mince pies, roast pig and fowl and some sort of baked fruit dessert. We now consider this dinner a bit rustic, but most holiday dinner staples such as a roast turkey and pie date to this era, if not before.
Victorian literature gives us a taste of what could be found for a 19th century holiday table. Christmas dinner was meant to be the finest meal of the year. Roast poultry, oyster stuffing, and plum pudding were staples. It is said that Prince Albert's sweet tooth is the reason for pudding's place at the royal feast and, subsequently, at almost every English Christmas meal. Just as several jewelry trends were swayed by Victoria's tastes, so too was the preference for rich dessert encouraged by Albert.
Edwardian opulence called for massive Christmas trees, over the top decorations and a holiday feast to match. In wealthy homes, classic dishes such as roast pork and ham would have been preceded by champagne, quail eggs and caviar. Delicate soups replaced heartier stews of yore as French cooking became the global standard for excellence (partially thanks to Edward VII, for whom the Edwardian era is named!)
The Art Deco period coincided with the American prohibition of alcohol sale and consumption, though we know this stopped few from enjoying a tasty tipple. Cocktails such as the French 75, whose recipe was published in 1930 and features a festive champagne float, and the Bee's Knees, meant to take the edge of bathtub gin with soothing lemon and honey, are still being mixed in restaurants today. And, they are perfect for holiday festivities.