Eating the 12 days of Christmas

‘Tis the season is it not and in honour of the enchanting atmosphere of festive joy hanging in the crisp (read: slightly damp) winter air I thought it was time for a truly Christmassy post, and what could be more Christmassy than these twelve days.

The ‘12 Days of Christmas’ song has been sung in the UK since the 18th century, if you haven’t heard it you’re in for a treat:

The rhyme was first published in the children’s book Mirth without Mischief in 1780, and I can’t help but notice that half of the presents ‘my true love gave to me’ would be very easily cooked. No, I am not suggesting at all that the author was a cannibal or promoting you tracking down a dancing lady or drumming drummer and throwing either of them in the oven; I was referring to the birds.

From six of the more traditional ‘geese-a-laying’ to the two more unfamiliar turtledoves, I can’t help but wonder if the author was compiling a plan for a party. Piping pipers and drumming drummers certainly would have provided enough entertainment for an 18th century crowd. And the dancing ladies and leaping lords would have made up a lively guestlist. The 23-bird spread would have been impressive, slightly medieval in size (and slightly illegal considering the swans), but impressive nonetheless.

Unfortunately I don’t have access to any hens, French or otherwise, so I can’t start experimenting with what dishes might have been served at this wild event. Instead, all of us here at Got Meat. have compiled a selection of recipes on our Pinterest board just in case some of you want to try out something new this Christmas. Have a look here

And don’t worry, the swan recipes are vegetarian…

All together now:

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Twelve drummers drumming

Eleven pipers piping

Ten lords-a-leaping

Nine ladies dancing

Eight maids-a-milking

Seven swans-a-swimming

Six geese-a-laying

Fiiiiiiive golden riiiiings

Four calling birds

Three french hens

Two turtledoves

And a partridge in a pear tree

Happy Christmas everyone!