‘Tis the Friday before Christmas… the season of love and laughter…and a Salty Dog…

The magic which is Christmas...I try although it is hard when it is sunny and no one else celebrates it…But Christmas is in my soul and I hope that I can share some of the magic I have always felt with you and of course make you remember and smile…

Christmas Eve...As a child was such a special time…The decorations were all up and the tree had been brought in from the garden and decorated…Christmas Eve was when Mr Brown used to bring a fresh Capon( a castrated) male chicken fattened for eating he also used to bring me jigsaws or books all passed down but books he knew I would like on Botany, Biology or history for example and jigsaws..big jigsaws which took a while to do as they were hard…He would have a couple of hot mince pies and a hot toddy or two with my dad…Then dad would go out and come back a few hours later with the fruit… lovely oranges, cox’s apples and bananas, pick and mix sweets, dates, figs and nuts then they would all be put out in the best dishes in the sitting room…Ready for Christmas Day…

I can’t remember having anything special for Christmas Eve Dinner…we would, of course, put out a mince pie for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer…after we came home from Midnight Mass…

Of course, if you live in Italy...They do love their food…The Christmas Eve dinner is seafood as they celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes…La Vigilia…The meal is traditionally made up of only fish or shellfish — seven varieties, as the name suggests — and vegetable dishes… Octopus, anchovies, salt cod, and clams are among the common ingredients, but the most traditional ingredient is capitone (eel). Seafood pasta dishes are also part of the menu.

Those recipes look amazing…I do love fish and seafood…What About Christmas Day?

After indulging in Cenone Della Vigilia, Italians still make room for Christmas lunch. This typically consists of the first course of pasta in broth, followed traditionally by eel or, in more recent times, roast turkey. For dessert, sweetbreads are typically served, such as panettone and pandoro.

Jeez, that is two days of a lot of food…

In Germany, it’s a tradition for people to eat potato salad and sausages on Christmas Eve. Potato salad there are so many versions made with either crushed new potatoes, peeled potatoes cubed and boiled, cubed and boiled in their skins or steamed.

Whatever potatoes you use I add to mine some chopped spring onions and or shallots maybe some crispy bacon, just enough mayo not too much and stir through I always do mine when the potatoes are still warm…Season really well with salt and fresh black pepper add some lemon or lime juice an easy one to knock up and again a nice accompaniment. This year I will be adding pickle juice to mine as I have heard that it adds a nice zing…

The French…Most families in France have a huge feast on Christmas Eve. The traditional dinner includes meat such as duck or goose, as well as side dishes like foie gras and oysters. The meal ends with the Buche de Noël, a rolled sponge cake decorated to look like a Yule log.

Iceland has one of my favourite traditions…Iceland’s tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve then spending the evening reading them… The holiday season starts off with the delivery of the Bokatidindi, which is a catalogue of every single book published in Iceland.

The tradition began in during WWII. Paper was one of the few commodities not rationed, and Icelanders could indulge in their love of books (and in giving books as gifts) as they weren’t in short supply.

Food definitely plays a huge role in Christmas celebrations wherever you live in the world…I feel bloated just writing this up…

All that food needs to be washed down...How about a Salty Dog?

Maybe more suited to a tropical climate but hey ho…You have central heating, don’t you? A classic cocktail that has become somewhat underappreciated in recent times, the Salty Dog is the perfect cocktail to enjoy while making the most of every last bit of summer sunshine or just because…

Incredibly easy to make the ice-cold Salty Dog is well overdue a revival. So, where did this fruity delight come from?

The Salty Dog was originally created as a variation of the Greyhound cocktail. George Jessel added a salt rim to the popular combination of gin and grapefruit juice sometime in the 1950s, as a way to increase the palatability of the drink for those who were less than fond of the bitter grapefruit taste. The Salty Dog soon became more popular than the Greyhound, but it does mean that the histories of both drinks are intertwined since the creator of the Greyhound had a hand in the fortunes of the Salty Dog.

Rumour also has it that the Salty Dog was first created sometime in the 1950s by the same bartender who invented the Bloody Mary. The story goes he wanted to change up a greyhound into something more sophisticated. However, the same tale involves George Jessel( The Toastmaster) as the inventor who actually was an actor from the 1920s by the 1950’s he was no longer famous and liked to tell the story as a way of keeping his notoriety. Which means that the actual creator may be lost to history which is often the case…

Salty Dog was also mentioned in the Savoy Cocktail book in the 1930s, the Greyhound is thought to have been created by the author of the book series, Harry Craddock. Originally from London, Craddock had moved to America to further his bartending career. He spent most of the 1920s and 1930s in the States, returning home when prohibition hit and working at the famous Savoy hotel.

It is thought that the Greyhound was created just before the move since gin was a more popular spirit overseas than vodka, which is now the preferred spirit for most in this drink. It became a popular drink at the Savoy hotel but really came into its own when Jessel adapted it to create the Salty Dog.

To be honest…Its origins don’t really matter too much as it is a lovely cocktail…at Christmas, I just love making cocktails…

That’s all for today…See you tomorrow at my house for some more Christmas recipes and titbits…x

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a wonderful festive season and a Merry Christmas xxx

39 thoughts on “‘Tis the Friday before Christmas… the season of love and laughter…and a Salty Dog…

  1. alexcraigie

    Just an update – I made your spiced red cabbage dish from the vegetarian menu and it’s properly scrumptious! Thanks and have a lovely Christmas. x


  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…13th December-19th December…Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Christmas…Oh Yeah! … | Retired? No one told me!

  3. dgkaye

    Loved all these tidbits Carol. The potato dish looks scrumptious, especially right now when I must make dinner, lol. And that video was fabuloso. I do love calamari – cooked deliciously without breading. Thank you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you Debs… We love potato salad and calamari just lightly cooked is my favourite so soft and tender.. I hope you have a wonderful festive season and a very Merry(hic) Christmas. Hugs 💕


  4. Mary Smith

    Love the sound of the Salty Dog. I’m slightly concerned by the time I’ve sampled it and Sally’s Margarita, ginger wine and eggnog I’ll have serious problems getting up the stairs to bed 🙂 I do like the sound of lots of seafood – though maybe not eel. Trying jellied ells for the first – and only – time was a huge disappointment to me. The bones!


  5. OIKOS™-Editorial

    A great remembrance on past Christmases. I think not to be a real German. Lol I truely know about the tradition with potato salad and sausages, but can only remember fish and chicken on this Eve’s.:-)) Thank you very much, Carol! Enjoy your beach Christmas. 😉 Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      German Christmarkets are lovely Jennie you get gluwein and drink while you are shopping it warms you up…I have my mugs here with me what I collected from the German Markets they just are used for coffee at Christmas now I should make some gluwein really its like a mulled wine…sigh

      Liked by 1 person

  6. beetleypete

    No Christmas Markets this year, due to restrictions. At least not in the usual sense, like the big one in Bury St Edmunds. We never did anything special on Christmas Eve when I was young. Though I used to start asking to go to bed just after dinner, hoping my presents would appear earlier if I did that. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      As we all did.. Haha.. No I suppose there wasn’t I love the German Christmas markets I spent a few days a number of years ago visiting them and they are lovely..

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sue Vincent

    The ‘main’ meal in many French homes is still eaten after midnight mass on Christmas Eve… making it breakfast on Christmas day, but just before bed. As confusing as anything for stomach that are then faces with lobsters, oysters, smoked salmon and various seafoods before being expected to partake of thirteen desserts… thanksfull, small ones!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      It’s become normal for us now, Robbie but I do sometimes wish I could experience the ambience of a proper Christmas Market again…I always keep the tradition of baking going and am teaching my Thai family so hopefully they will when I am not here to do it or get too old although my mother is 90 and she still cooks 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. petespringerauthor

    I enjoy reading about holiday customs around the world. I’m fairly well versed in them, but I was unaware of the Icelandic tradition of exchanging books and then reading them. What a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

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