“On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me seven swans a-swimming.” – Frederic Austin
“Seven swans a-swimming” presumably symbolize the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. New Year’s Eve seems like a perfect time to enjoy these gifts, knowing a year of new challenges awaits.
In the Middle Ages, when people more regularly honored the twelve days of Christmas, their celebrations on this day involved games, friends, and feasting, much like today’s more modern New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Here’s a list of seven games you might try with your family and friends this New Year’s Eve:
- Archery – (Just like the Middle Ages.) You may want to reserve this activity for adults and well-chaperoned children.
- Lawn Darts – Similar enough to archery without as much danger
- Corn Hole – Found at many a-tailgating parties and highly recommended as a pass-time in the south
- Throw, Throw Burrito – A new favorite of our family, plays like a version of Uno mixed with dodge ball
- Telestrations – a laughter-inducing edition of Pictionary
- Jenga or Jumbling Towers – a true test of your spiritual fortitude and a balancing act
- Telephone – No item purchases required, just easy fun.
For the meal, I decided to serve what swans like to eat rather than serving a swan. Typically, swans feast on found objects in the water like clams.
These fresh clams in a spicy broth with yellow rice, charred corn, fresh jalapeños, and tomatoes make for a perfect swan or human feast.
For The Rice:
- 1 TBSP Of Butter
- 1/4 Of An Onion
- 1/2 tsp Of Minced Garlic
- 1/4 tsp Of Turmeric
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 Cup Of Rice
- 2 Cups Of Chicken Broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer it.)
For The Clams:
- 1/2 TBSP Of Butter
- 1 tsp Of Garlic
- 2 tsp. Oregano
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin
- 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Smoked Paprika
- A Pinch Of Cinnamon
- A Pinch Of Ground Cloves
- 1/4 Cup of Vegetable Broth
- 2 Dozen Clams
- 1/4 Cup Beer
Toppings (optional) :
- Corn (charred in the skillet with salt, pepper, and a little butter or rinsed and drained corn from the can)
- Fresh Jalapeño Slices
- Fresh Tomato Slices
- In a pot over low-medium heat, add your butter and allow it to melt.
- Add your onions to the melted butter and sauté for about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic, turmeric salt, and rice to the pot, frequently stirring to keep rice from burning.
- Once the rice is toasted, add your chicken broth, place the lid on top, and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, remove the lid, stir diligently, pulling rice from the bottom layer up to the top, place the lid back on the pot, and the stove eye to low heat, reducing the broth to a simmer.
- Allow the rice to cook for 18 minutes, fluff with a fork, replace the lid, and allow it to sit for five more minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, add butter to a high-walled cast iron, pan, or wok over low- medium heat.
- Add garlic, oregano, cumin chili powder, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and cloves to the melted butter. Stir and sauté these ingredients for 3 minutes.
- Add the Vegetable broth and bring it to a simmer.
- Add your clams and beer, place lid over the clams, and steam for about 8 minutes or until the clams open up.
- Plate the clams on top of the rice, drizzle broth into their shells and over the rice, and add any desired toppings.