My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, December 25th.
A very happy holiday to everyone. Hopefully you were on the “good list” and got or will get a wonderful present from someone today. It’s a cold one here in Vermont this morning; only about 6F at my house, but I am sure that there are colder places around. I am listening to the rest of my family waking up on this Christmas morning and coming down stairs to the smell of my wife, Candy, beginning to cook breakfast in the kitchen… the heavenly smell of bacon being predominant, of course, but the coffee is running a close second at the moment.
My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, December 18th.
Most of us, no doubt, are familiar with the holiday style of beer called Wassail. There are many excellent examples and I have sampled a number of them. I have to admit that I look forward to the annual renewing of the “winter warmer” traditions as well as the beers and other libations that come along with it. Today I will look a bit beyond the Wassail drink itself to some of the history and traditions surrounding this ancient drink of the holidays.
My fellow HopPress writer, Steph Weber, wrote an article (Wassail! Wassail!), which appeared on Christmas Day last year, about how to make a traditional wassail. I have found that there are a variety of ingredients that can be added to a wassail. The one that Steph chose (from Alton Brown at the Food Network) looks like a very good one and I may give hers a try sometime. Like most recipes, you could easily take Steph’s/Alton’s and alter it significantly to suit your own needs and tastes. If you desire something different all together, simply searching the Internet for “wassail recipes” will bring you dozens of possibilities to explore on your own.
Well… its all over but the leftovers and the heady aroma of the beginnings of turkey soup simmering away on the stove. After nearly a week of preparation, my wife Candy presented my kids and me with a truly magnificent dinner early this afternoon. In spite of her disappointment that it was just four of us this year (not that she really minded spending the day with her family, of course), she put together one of the best Thanksgiving meals in my recent memory. For me, everything was perfect… for Candy, she seemed happy with the meal… translated for all of the rest of you, that means that she thought that she had done a good job. Candy is a terrific cook (just looking at me you can tell), but she is hesitant to praise her own efforts without good cause… she is really a perfectionist when it comes to cooking for others.
Our children, Cindy and Jamie, have now headed back to their respective homes in the Burlington area… boxes and bags of Thanksgiving leftovers and other items retrieved from the “Koenemann Family Store” in hand. They both got a good natured, but stern warning from me to be careful of the weather if they ventured out into the early morning craziness of the “Black Friday” shopping phenomenon… not something that you would never catch me within 10 miles of. The weather here is supposed to turn quite nasty around midnight… sleet, snow and freezing rain… and that is to continue until around noon tomorrow. None of us have to work tomorrow, so there is not pressing need to be out and about in such crappy weather. I fully intend to enjoy a nice quiet day off tomorrow. I originally was supposed to have a nice 4-day weekend, but a very large, complicated and high risk system upgrade project got moved to this weekend and I expect to be up most of the night on Saturday working on that… not alone this time, fortunately. The “why” of how this project got scheduled for this weekend I’ll leave to another time… it is a sad tale!