Archive | December, 2012

There’s no such thing as wassail

11 Dec

Wassail

If you’ve never tried or prepared Wassail (WAHS-ul/Wah-SALE), try it this Christmas season. Rosie Schaap, writer for the New York Times, explores this warm drink’s rich history, traditions, and debated preparation instructions. Go ahead and give it a read!

Wassail Delivers British Nostalgia in a Warm Punch

 

I AM a Dutch-German-Hungarian-Polish-Russian-Jewish-American woman. Yet every December, I turn into a 19th-century British gentleman.

It’s a little embarrassing, this surge of Anglophilia. If I must think of myself as an occasional Englishman, I’d rather be, say, a soccer-loving, beer-swilling extra in a Ken Loach movie, not a Dickens re-enactor.

Still, I put up a Christmas tree. I cook a hefty rib roast, reserving its drippings for Yorkshire pudding. This isn’t a recent development: My mother, whose father was an unrepentant Anglophile, often made a roast on Christmas and sometimes followed it with plum pudding and hard sauce for dessert. (I usually swap that out for a big chunk of Stilton, served with port.)

But this year, I’m adding something else to my faux-English Christmas repast: a great big bowl of wassail, a hot winter punch made with cider, ale, spices and an optional garnish of toast. Yes, toast.

My hope is that it will warm up my holiday dinner guests, encourage them to linger a little longer at the table — and maybe even inspire us all to sing a wassailing song or two.

Wassail (pronounced WAHS-ul or wah-SALE) is enjoying a small revival in New York bars these days, particularly those with nostalgic tendencies, whipped up in big pots or slow cookers. But for those of us who have any active associations with wassail, they are probably musical. “Here We Come a-Wassailing” is about as likely to turn up on your supermarket’s holiday Muzak loop as “The Christmas Song” or “Frosty the Snowman.”

And therein lies the beauty of wassail: more than just another nice-tasting drink, it’s part of a long (if largely forgotten) tradition of celebrating the life that winter can seem determined to snuff out. It’s a fragrant, warming concoction mixed in bulk and set out for sharing, all but demanding that you call in a crowd. There’s really no such thing as wassail for one.

It’s a noun, a verb and even a salutation.

 

READ FULL ARTICLE ON NYTIMES.COM

 

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OpenTable Shares List of Restaurants Who Go Local

5 Dec

Locally Grown

 

OpenTable is trying something new, and we approve! The online rating and reservation restaurant site is forming a list of restaurants who use locally-grown ingredients. They are all over the U.S., so you can search your city for the best eats, and even make a reservation. The list is sponsored by Chase Saphire, and if you use your Saphire card you’ll get points for dining.

Check out the list and see what dining spots are going local for flavor and community support!

Restaurants using locally-grown ingredients