Ghost Stories For Christmas, Part II

My favorite series…

Romancing the Bee

ohwhistle-mcbride

“Whenever five or six English-speaking people meet round a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each other ghost stories,” wrote British humorist Jerome K. Jerome as part of his introduction to an anthology of Christmas ghost stories titled “Told After Supper“ in 1891. “Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about specters.”

From ancient times, ghost stories were also called “Winter’s Tales.”  In his play The Jew of Malta (1589), the 16th century English playwright Christopher Marlowe has a character Barnabus saying:

Now I remember those old women’s words,

Who in my youth would tell me winter’s tales,

And speak of spirits and ghosts that glide by night

William Shakespeare titled his strange play about magic and transformations A Winter’s Tale (1623).  He has the character of Prince Mamilius proposing to tell the court a story:

A sad tale’s best for winter:…

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Holidays With Honey – Gingerbread Men

The best gingerbread is made with honey, not molasses!

Romancing the Bee

Gingy

“Run! run! as fast as you can!
You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Who doesn’t love Gingerbread Men? Especially when they’re made with honey rather than molasses. Have some fun and make these tasty cookies. They’re great for gifts and decorations too!

This recipe makes a light brown Gingerbread Man, like the one above.

Yield:   26 Servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice

Directions

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the honey, egg and water. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or…

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Ghost Stories For Christmas, Part I

One of my favorite posts…

Romancing the Bee

unespected stranger

Although it is not widely known in modern times, the Winter Solstice has long been associated with ghosts and spirits both in Pagan as well as Christian Traditions. Beginning the first of December, there are spirits behind every door and in every closet as well as dancing in the flames of candles and hearth-fires.

We are all familiar with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but we sometimes forget that it’s a ghost story, first and foremost.  Dickens likely got his some of his inspiration from the Celtic mysticism & mythology associated with the Winter Solstice (21 December).

This festival of the Winter Solstice – called Alban Arthuan in Druidic traditions – has long been thought of as a time of death & rebirth when Nature’s innate powers and our own souls are renewed. This event – which marks the moment in the spiral of earthen time when the Old…

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Black Bean Soup With Honey

I made this yesterday, and today it’s SOOOO good!!

Romancing the Bee

black bean soup

The inspiration for this recipe was one that appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine on January 4, 1987.  The recipe looked so good that by the time I made it to the grocery store, all the black beans had been sold out!

Ingredients

1/2 pound smoked slab bacon with rind

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery

1 1/2 cups finely diced carrots

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled

3 tablespoons tomato paste

16 cups rich chicken broth, preferably homemade and concentrated, or canned broth may be substituted

1 pound black turtle beans or other black beans, about 3 cups (soaked and drained)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

1/4…

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Midwinter Ghosts

One of my favorite topics!

Ghost Cities

There is something about the festive season that irresistibly brings ghosts to mind. Who can tell whether it is the wintery chill, the creeping mist or the inscrutable blanket of snow, but the period approaching Christmas seems inextricably bound with the supernatural. A traditional time for tales of unquiet spirits and the restless dead, the Yuletide season has inspired writers from Charles Dickens to M R James to write ghost stories either during or expressly set at Christmas. But is there perhaps more to this? Are these fictional ghostly tales actually based on real-life paranormal occurrences? There is no shortage of material to support such a conclusion – in Britain alone, there are spooky stories of things that go bump in the night each Christmas that span the length and breadth of the country. From spirits that roam the bleak North York Moors, to haunted houses in the garden of…

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Holidays With Honey – Honey Baked Ham

ham 2

This is one of the most popular recipes on my blog and in my cookbook, Cooking with Honey

It’s perfect for holiday dinners, and your guests will be vying for leftovers.

FYI, Cooking with Honey is still available for holiday delivery for $10 including shipping. Email me at rtbee@me.com with your orders.

cover

Ingredients:

1 fully-cooked shank half ham , bone in (pre-sliced is best)

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1⁄8; teaspoon paprika

1 dash ground ginger

1 dash ground allspice

Directions:

First you must slice your ham, if it is not already sliced. Use a very sharp knife to cut the ham into very thin slices around the bone.

Do not cut all the way to the bone or the meat may not hold together properly as it is being glazed. You want the slices to be quite thin, but not so thin that they begin to fall apart of off the bone.

You may wish to turn the ham onto its flat end and cut around it starting at the bottom. You can then spin the ham as you slice around and work your way up.

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. (I like to make double this recipe for a nice large ham).

Lay down a couple sheets of wax paper onto a flat surface, such as your kitchen counter. Pour the honey/sugar mixture onto the wax paper and spread it around evenly.

Pick up the ham and roll it over the sugar mixture so that it is well coated. Do not coat the flat end of the ham, just the outer surface which you have sliced through.

Turn the ham onto its flat end on a plate. Use a kitchen torch with a medium-size flame to caramelize the sugar.

Wave the torch over the sugar with rapid movements, so that the sugar bubbles and browns, but does not burn. Spin the plate so that you can torch the entire surface of the ham.

Repeat the coating and caramelizing process until the ham has been well-glazed (don’t expect to use all of the sugar mixture).

Serve the ham cold or re-heat.