Blogs with Bite is an occasional omnivorous sampling of food blogs and sites we find particularly tasty. Follow the trail of bread crumbs back to earlier editions, starting here.
Here’s a fresh holiday serving of Blogs with Bite:
Society for the Protection & Preservation of the Fruitcake — Founded ca. 1999 by Mary Beth Frezon. Recipes, history, philosophy, links. That green stuff in the cake? Candied citron peel. Robert Sietsema’s “Short History of Fruitcake” is still tasty; Linda Stradley’s version is short and sweet. Apollo 11 brought fruitcake into space in 1969; it was an odd pineapple variety but, typically, some astronauts refused to eat it. Fans of the dense pastry should blast off to Mondo Fruitcake. What makes fruitcake so durable? Sugar and alcohol (see Cynthia Bertelsen’s post on fermentation). The Caribbean, source of sugar and rum, has its own especially dense Black Fruitcake. Is baking too much trouble? Try an inflatable fruitcake.
Cookie Cutter Museum — Knightstown, Indiana. There are also cookie cutter museums in Poland, NY and Joplin, MO, and a national Cookie Cutter Collector’s Club. Cookie boards (wooden molds, like the ones used for Spekulatius and Springerle) preceded tin cookie cutters. Alice Ross has a nice history of shaped Christmas gingerbread.
Snow Cream — Got snow? Make snow cream.
Latkes vs. Sufganiyot — Hanukkah smackdown! A deep doctrinal rift divides the world Jewish community this time of year. Which fried treats should be served during the Festival of Lights, savory potato latkes (pancakes) or sweet sufganiyot (jelly donuts)? Sufganiyot (singular, sufganiyah) are favored in Israel (emphatically so), latkes in Europe and the USA. Some celebrants try to avoid this conflict by serving fritters.
Rosca de reyes (roscón de reyes) — In some communities the highlight of the winter season is the Feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings Day, January 6th for modern Western Christians (January 19th for some Orthodox Christians). Barry Popnik has collected a representative sampling.
Rømmegrøt — Norwegian custard (the name means “Sour Cream Porridge“), often eaten at Christmas and other festive occasions. Heart-stoppingly good at any time. Cynthia Bertelsen has a lovely description of the dish.
Stollen (Christstollen) — “Christ’s Christmas breads” have been made in and near Dresden since at least 1330.
Christmas Pudding — Fat, sugar, spirits, spices, preserved fruit. Yum. Sometimes called “Plum Pudding” though it has no plums (early Xmas puds may have had prunes, dried plums). Food Timeline records this pudding’s history. Orlando Murrin has an interesting version, but Australia’s Paul Denyer has the ultimate pudding website. Find even more recipes here. Note: Christmas pudding needs regular maintenance and lubrication (with hard sauce).
Sugarplums — Sharon Cohen on the history on preparation of these Christmas confections.
National Potato Latke Eating Championship — Zan’s Kosher Deli in Lake Grove, NY holds this annual sanctioned and certified Kosher competition. The 2009 event was held on December 13th and won by Don “Moses” Lerman (31 latkes), who then retired from competitive eating. Mazel Tov.
Pandoro — The other Italian Christmas bread, originally from Verona.