We are all part of nature and we should live in accordance with its changes and norms. In winter, the Yin energy prevails and the days are short. This should be reflected in our rhythm of life. We should sleep and relax more. However, the end of the year brings increased tension, pre-Christmas preparations and worries. Despite all our efforts, we can’t avoid this rush. However, we can try to slow down at least.
Christmas is a Christian feast associated with the birth of Christ but it is based on the pagan celebration of the solstice. Christmas customs, as well as traditional Christmas dishes, vary greatly from country to country. I come from Prague in the Czech Republic and if you are interested in typical Czech dishes connected with Christmas, you can check them here:
Personally, I am not a fan of contemporary Czech Christmas cuisine because it’s hard to digest. However, if you are brave enough, you can give it a try. ( Don’t forget to prepare plenty of baking soda to regain normal digestion). The current form of Czech Christmas dates back to the nineteenth century. In the earlier times, the Christmas cuisine of our ancestors was simple and healthy.
Old Bohemian Christmas table
Our ancestors ate simple dishes on Christmas Eve. It was a black groaty pudding (a meal somewhat similar to the British Groaty Pudding, or Groaty Dick if you want), lentil or pea soup and dried fruit. Black groaty pudding was traditionally made from barley groats and mushrooms called “horn of plenty” that supplied a typical black colour to this meal.
However, other dried or even fresh mushrooms can be used. Instead of barley groats, it’s possible to use the buckwheat or a mixture of buckwheat and Jobs tears. In the past, the housewives seem to be more in peace. The preparation of pudding and soup was fairly simple. Dried fruits, especially apples, used to be in-house since autumn. Another advantage was that everything came from local sources.
Christmas Groaty Pudding Recipe
You will need:
Lard (we can use butter or margarine)
Soak dried mushrooms and groats overnight in water. The next day put the mushrooms and groats into a pot and cook them until soft. Briefly fry the chopped onion and four cloves of garlic in the lard or butter until translucent. Put cooked mushrooms and groats into the baking dish, add the onion, garlic, chopped parsley, thyme and oregano, salt and black pepper to taste. Stir the mixture thoroughly, put it in an oven and bake at 180° for 25 minutes.
From the TCM point of view:
Groats are cooling in nature, have a sweet taste, strengthen the spleen, harmonize
stomach, remove excess moisture but do not dry out.
Mushrooms – (depending on the species) Nature – balanced to warm, taste – sweet, effects –
strengthen the spleen, complement chi and yin.
Garlic – the nature is warm, the taste is sweet and spicy, effects – heats the centre, strengthens the spleen, destroys parasites (also good against vampires)
Spices – (in general) Nature is warm to hot, taste spicy, effects – heats up,
Salt – Nature – neutral, taste – salty, effects – harmonizes the Middle Burner,
replenishes kidneys, moistens.
This simple dish strengthens the spleen, harmonizes the Middle Burner, gently heats up, complements chi and yin.