In today’s episode, I argue that feasting and festivities are a lot more meaningful when they follow a period of deprivation.
12 Days of (Vegan) Christmas Recipe Bundle
WHAT’S MORE: Inspired by the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” I have a brand-new recipe bundle that features recipes that can be served at a single holiday party OR as inspiration for each day of the holiday season. 🎵 On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…🎵
Abstaining from meat, dairy, and eggs during religious holidays has been a tradition for centuries in many religions. In Christianity, for example, during Lent (40 days prior to Easter) and Advent (40 days prior to Christmas), parishioners were forbidden to consume animal flesh as well as as dairy, cheese, and eggs.
In today’s episode, we explore this history and demonstrate that not eating animal products was more common than not, especially during the period of contemplation and contrition leading up to the holy days of Easter and Christmas. I share my own experience growing up Catholic, my memories of Fish Fridays, and the meaning of a common English word whose origins are steeped in religious abstinence.
Plant-based recipes inspired by the popular holiday song
Search for “12 Days of Christmas recipes” on the internet, and you’ll find countless blog posts featuring loads of animal products: actual cooked hens for Day 3, egg-based dishes for Day 6, milky desserts for Day 8, and so on.
There’s absolutely no evidence that the song pays homage to the consumption of different birds on different days during the 12 Days of Christmas; rather, it was most likely a memory game played on Twelfth Night, the 12th and final night of the 12 Days of Christmas, which begins on December 25th and ends on January 6th, otherwise known as Epiphany.
Still, you will find no animals harmed in the crafting of these dishes. It was so much fun crafting this menu — making literal interpretations as well as taking creative license. You’ll see all the whys and wherefores and details about why I chose the dishes I did once you purchase!
Obviously, you can cook from this menu anytime of the year, but I was very mindful about making sure you have what you need for a single holiday dinner (appetizers, starters, mains, and desserts) or for featuring one recipe per day during the 12 days of Christmas. Enjoy!
Poached Pears — A Partridge in a Pear Tree (December 25) Chocolate Pecan Turtles — Two Turtle Doves (December 26) Fabulous French Toast — Three French Hens (December 27) Better-than-Chicken Vegetable Pot Pie — Four Calling Birds (December 28) Monkey Bread — Five Golden Rings (December 29) Eggless Egg Salad Crostini — Six Geese a Laying (December 30) Swan Cut-out Sugar Cookies — Seven Swans a Swimming (December 31) Potato Leek Soup — Eight Maids a Milking (January 1) Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pink Lady Apples and Onions — Nine Ladies Dancing (January 2) Wassail — Ten Lords-a-Leaping (January 3) Polenta Fries + Eggless Meringue Cookies — Eleven Pipers Piping (January 4) Butternut Squash Timbales — Twelve Drummers Drumming (January 5)
(If you’d like to understand more about why — historically — The 12 Days of Christmas started on December 25th and ended on January 6th (otherwise known as the epiphany), check out the Food for Thought podcast episodes Forbidden Meat as well Food and Feasting.)
GET YOUR FREE JOYFUL VEGAN GUIDE
Includes delicious plant-based recipes and a meal plan!