Today is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Way before Christmas came along, northern peoples celebrated the return of the sun at this time of year with days of feasting and parties. This is when the Yule log was born. Men would find the largest tree to cut down and set ablaze to represent the light of the sun and the feasting would continue until the log burned out. This could last up to 12 days. Often cattle were slaughtered so they wouldn’t have to be fed during the winter and it was the first fresh meat people would have had for months.
Pope Julius came along around 350 AD and said “Hey, everyone seems to be partying now, let’s say this is when Jesus was born and join in the fun! And that yule log? Yeah, that will represent the light of Savior’s presence on earth, not that silly sun.”
To celebrate your own solstice here in LA without a fireplace (or if you are no longer burning wood to reduce pollution), you can make the now traditional pastry Buche de Noel. Join me after the jump for recipes and more photos.
Mmmm….warm and toasty.
There are many recipes for this winter treat at Epicurious.com. Here are a couple that look especially wacky and delicious:
What could be easier than starting with Yodel Cakes?
Here’s a Buche Recipetraditional buche with a New Orleans twist:
I tried a google search for where to buy a Buche de Noel in Los Angeles, but in my 7 minutes of searching came up with nada. Does anyone know where to get a really delicious one? Please let us know in the comments.
The days only get longer from here on, make the very best of them!