“On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me … two turtle doves …”
There seems to be something very Un-PC about the idea of eating turtle doves, even if they are glorified pigeons – which are certainly very OK to eat. Apart from Mrs. Chiang-Kai Shek, who attributed her good health to the regular eating of a restorative soup made from white doves, I can find hardly a reference to them appearing on the table. Perhaps we are reluctant to eat them because we have appropriated the species to our coo-ing love-bird selves?
Turtle doves coo over ….. bird seed I suppose? Human turtle doves gift each other … chocolate! Chocolate may well be the most coo-ed over food for all humans, lovers or not, so on this second day of Christmas we are going to have TWO chocolate tarts!
In between chocolate as a bitter, spicy drink and chocolate as a sweet, smooth, biteable confection, chefs and cooks discovered its value as a cooking ingredient. It was usually partly processed into solid cakes of coarse “cocoa” which had to be grated or pounded up before use. The first I have been able to find are in François Massialot’s Le nouveau cuisinier royal et bourgeois, ou cuisinier moderne (first ed. 1691) there are two recipes in which chocolate is an ingredient: in a sauce for “sea-duck”, and in a sweet custard. (This recipe is given in an earlier story on chocolate history).
The earliest known written version of our theme song is from 1780, so I am going to give you a recipe from that year. It is a chocolate cream recipe from Susanna Kellet’s book A complete collection of cookery receipts, (consisting of near four hundred,) which have been taught upwards of fifty years…. With a little adaptation it would make a fine filling for those chocolate tart shells that I am sure you can whip up in a jiffy.
Scrape two ounces of chocolate in a pint of cream, set it on, and let it just come a boil; then mill it up, put in a little perfume, and steep it in rose water. Sweeten to your taste and put in a china dish, and lay froth upon it.
“On the second day of Christmas, my good friend sent to me
Two chocolate tarts
And a partridge in a pear tree.”
The Third Day of Christmas.
Quotation for the Day …
If I were a headmaster, I would get rid of the history teacher and get a chocolate teacher instead and my pupils would study a subject that affected all of them. Roald Dahl.