by Helen Macbeth *
The idea for this collection of recipes for traditional Christmas foods across Europe occurred when I decided to give a paper on traditional British Christmas food in the quite different December climates of Britain and Australia, at an ICAF conference in north west Romania in 2007. As retiring Chair of the European section of ICAF I decided to approach my colleagues and other friends to send me recipes for traditional Christmas foods in their countries, and I also asked them to take relevant photos over the festive Christmas period of 2007. I underestimated the work in editing these and some of the problems, such as how to deal with regional differences within countries, especially when the contributors were only from some of the regions. I must make it clear that the collection presented below is based on what was submitted to me by these colleagues and friends. This means that many countries and regions are not represented. Nevertheless, we all hope that readers will find the collection entertaining and even delicious.
It was largely my decision that this collection would be published on our ICAF website, as a 'web-book', rather than as a printed book. The medium seems to work exceptionally well for a book of recipes which the reader wants to dip into rather than read from start to finish.
How to use this web-book:
If you are reading this Introduction you have already entered the web-book. You will see to the left of your screen, a list of countries. Consider these as though they were chapters. Click on any country and you will find a general introduction written by the contributor(s) for that nation. You will now see to the left of your screen the list of recipes provided for that country. Click on the recipe desired and you will find the list of ingredients and how to prepare the recipe, and in some cases also a photo or illustration. Or click on a new country and repeat the process.
The other advantage of a web-book is that we can make additions. I intend to limit this to once a year, but if a reader discovers this collection and wishes to submit material for a country that has not so far been represented, please send a simple email to hmacbeth-at-brookes-dot-ac-dot-uk (an email address written in such a way that computer searches will not find it to bombard me with junk emails, but presumably humans can understand it). Your email should be in English and brief enough only to let me know that you are interested in supplying further information, or some other relevant comment. I can then send you a reply with further instructions.
Finally, I want to thank all the contributors. To the prompt and punctual ones may I thank you for your patience awaiting this final production? To the slower contributors please excuse my rather late email reminder and the urgency that I have stressed. To all of you my apologies if I have made any editorial mistakes, errors in interpretation, translation or correction, or worst of all if over the months I should have lost something you sent me.
Now, click on another heading and I hope you find something that you enjoy.
* (c)Copyright 2008 Helen Macbeth. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute copies of this Introduction solely for the purposes of non-profit domestic use or non-profit educational purposes in either case provided that copies are distributed at or below cost and that the author's source and copyright notice are included on each copy.