by Anna Sugden
Boxing Day? What is it? For many it is a great sporting day, for others a time to hit the shops for the best bargains, and for the rest of us, it's another day of eating and relaxing (and maybe some sport on the telly - Go Manchester United and Exeter City!)
In the UK and other Commonwealth countries, the day after Christmas (also known as St Stephen's Day) is a national holiday, called Boxing Day. There are a number of explanations as to how it got its name - but the most popular/well-known is that is the day when people would give a 'Christmas box' or gift to those who worked for them.
In feudal times, it was when the lord of the manor would hand out the equivalent of a Christmas bonus to his serfs and tenants. It was usually a box of practical goods like food and cloth, maybe even some tools.
I believe that later, anyone who had servants, would either give 'boxed-up' left-overs from Christmas lunch to those servants to eat the following day or they would even cook for their household.
Over time, it evolved into employers giving either money (the basis for the Christmas bonus) or a gift. In many towns and villages, it was also the day when the church donation boxes were opened and the contents shared out among the poor of the locality.
Today, there are still many who give presents or bonuses to people like the milkmen, postmen, dustbin men, paper boys etc on Boxing Day.
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing today - I hope you are having a wonderful Boxing Day. May you be happy and healthy and ... totally stuffed from all the holiday goodies! And may your favourite teams win (unless they're playing against mine!).
For those of you who have been following our recipes, here is my recipe for Boxing Day Soup (aka what to do with all the Christmas left-overs!)
2 pints of chicken or turkey stock (we usually boil up the turkey carcasse and make our own)
2 or 3 large leeks
1 large onion
1 large chunk of butter
A big bowl leftover turkey meat (we use the dark meat and save the white meat for sandwiches or other dishes)
Left-over roast potatoes
Left-over roasted root vegetables eg parsnips, carrots etc
Left-over bread sauce and stuffing and gravy
(NB do not include any left-over brussel sprouts or other green vegetables - they'll add a bitter taste!)
1. Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan
2. Chop onion and leeks and cook until they become translucent
3. Add chopped turkey meat
4. Chop roast potatoes and root vegetables into chunks and add to the saucepan.
5. Add the stock and stir while bringing the stock up to a simmer.
6. Stir in the left-over gravy, bread sauce and stuffing.
7. Let the soup simmer on the stove until it has a thick and hearty consistency.
8. Serve and enjoy. As a little extra touch, I like to add a large spoonful of sour cream.
So, what are you up to on this Boxing Day? If you're watching sport, who are you supporting?
As a special Boxing Day prize, I'm giving away a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card.