Saturday, November 29, 2008

Advent Activity Calendar - December 16

Scripture Reading:

Isaiah 46: 13

"I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel. "

Country in Focus: Italy

Tradition: Sugared Nuts

Activity: Make Spiced Nuts

Materials: Egg whites, mixed nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla extract, and sugar.


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Mix 1 tbsp of egg white and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
3. Use the above mixture to coat 2 cups of mixed nuts.
4. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tbsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp of cloves.
5. Sprinkle above mixture over egg white-nut mixture until all the nuts are coated.
6. Spread out on a ungreased cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 20 minutes.


Nuts were an important part of the medieval diet. Almonds in particular could be found in every medieval kitchen. The reason nuts were so common is they were easy to store. Also, physicians of the day recommended them to aid in digestion. When a fish dish was served, it was almost always followed by nuts. Italians still use sugared almonds as part of their Christmas day celebrations, where the menu is almost entirely seafood dishes.

So it should be no surprise that since Christmas came in the winter when illness was rampant, that Saint Nicholas would deliver things that would help make children well. These special deliveries included oranges and nuts. The nuts that Saint Nicholas left were often spiced because spices also had a medicinal effect.

I was very proud of how our nuts turned out! This has been one of our more successful adventures! Don't forget that you will have to separate the nuts with a fork right before you serve them.

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