|Our Yule log ablaze 2016|
Our family celebration started as a Christmas day "hobbit" brunch. My son prepares a maple sausage based dish containing potatoes, onions, spinach, mushrooms and peppers all cooked together after the sausage is browned. Yummy topped with an egg or solo on the plate. I made some cranberry-oatmeal muffins and we sipped mimosas. Later, when everyone arrived we added another course we call a "groaning" cheese board of brie, havarti with dill, a leek & morel jack and a smoky gouda. Finally, there was the yule log cake, a bûche de noël, made in our neighborhood grocer's bakery. I hadn't been able to find a yule cake previously, so I wasn't aware that it is essentially a jelly roll with log imitating frosting. Our charming cake was topped with frosting pine cones and had red velvet cake with a spiral of vanilla frosting inside. I had always thought these cakes were a German tradition, but upon researching Wikipedia found they are also popular in France and Great Britain.
This got me thinking about the Yule Log tradition overall, and here in the U.S. I distinctly remember the televised burning yule log that played all day at my grandmother's Connecticut home Christmas day. See here, an article about the start of that tradition on the East Coast http://www.ibtimes.com/yule-log-live-stream-2016-tv-info-netflix-online-options-holiday-tradition-2464912 It was a visual, as well as audio representation of a blazing hearth, sometimes accompanied by holiday music, for those of us without a actual fireplace. I found it very comforting, and still have a YouTube video bookmarked on my lap top when I need to enjoy a crackling fireplace.