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10 festive drinking games you need to play this Christmas

Make your drinking games a little bit more festive this year (Picture: Getty)
Ding dong, deck the ha..

10 festive drinking games you need to play this Christmas
Make your drinking games a little bit more festive this year (Picture: Getty)

Ding dong, deck the halls and let’s all get merrily on high – Christmas ‘tis the season to get absolutely baubled.

If festive drinking games aren’t a tradition round your way then 2017 is the year to get involved.

Time-saving recipes let you get back to celebrating. (Picture: Getty)10 Christmas slow cooker recipes that will save you time

Drinking games shouldn’t be limited to university halls.

Not only are they excellent fun, they bring people together and make us all feel tingly and warm.

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Of course, all fun should be had in moderation. Drink responsibly, folks, and keep each other safe. We can all still have fun without getting totally grottoed.

So gather round, grab a glass and get your game face on with these 10 festive drinking games – think all the freshers’ week classics with a tinsel-y twist.

1. Never have I evergreen

Players take turns to say something they have never done at Christmas.

For instance, Player One might say: ‘Never have I ever kissed someone under the mistletoe.’

Players that have done the deed must drink.

As the game goes on, and players get into the festive cheer, statements tend to get spicier than a Nigella turkey curry.

2. Festive flip cup

Divide into two teams and line up along either side of a table, facing your opponent.

Each player fills their cup with mulled wine. Players place their cup on the table in front of them.

Starting with the players at the top of the table, opposing pairs must race to down their drink.

They then place their cup on the edge of the table and race to flip it upside down.

Only when the cup is flipped can the next player in your team begin drinking. The first team to finish wins.

10 festive drinking games you need to play this Christmas
(Picture: Getty)

3. Wreath of fire

Grab a pack of cards. Assign each card a Yule rule then spread out the deck, face down, in a circle around a glass.

Players take it in turns to select a card and must abide by the stated rule.

They include the ‘Mary’ rule, where all the women in the group must drink, or the ‘Rudolf rhyme’ where you pick a festive word then go round the circle coming up with words that rhyme. For instance: ‘stocking’, ‘rocking’ ‘locking’.

The first person to fail must drink.

4. Drink while you Grinch

Go round the circle taking turns to say things you hate about Christmas. Stuck for ideas? Drink until you can think of one.

The winner is the person with all their drink left – I think?

5. Fives (gold rings)

Players stand in a circle and extend their fists into the middle.

Each player receives five gold rings – fine, Hula Hoops – that they must place on each finger.

Each beringed finger counts as one, so one fist counts as a ‘five’.

Player One counts out ‘one, two, three’ then shouts a multiple of five, which can be no more than the total number of ‘fives’ in the game (for example, five fists equals 25 fingers, so the maximum total is 25).

Players then decide whether to stick out their fingers (five) or keep fist closed (zero).

If Player One has unwittingly guessed the correct multiple of five, then they are out, must eat all their rings (Hula Hoops) and take a penalty drink. If they are wrong, the game continues.

The winner is the last player with all their Hula Hoo– rings on.

10 festive drinking games you need to play this Christmas

6. Fuzzy turkey

Sit in a circle. Player One says ‘fuzzy turkey’ to the player to her left.

Player Two says ‘fuzzy turkey’ to the player on their left, and so on, so that the message is passed round the circle.

If someone says ‘does he?’ the phrase changes to ‘turkey fuzz’ and changes direction – until someone says ‘does he?’ again, when the message goes back the other way.

If you mess up – and you will – take a drink.

7. 21 Days of Christmas

Players go round the circle trying to count to 21. The aim is avoid being the person who says ‘21’ as you will have to down your drink.

Add in festive rules as the game progresses. For example, instead of saying ‘3’, the relevant player must sing the first line of a Christmas carol.

Or, on ‘11’, all players must jump up and create the Nativity Scene. Penalty drinks are allotted to players who mess up or forget rules.

Saying two numbers sends it back the other way, saying three numbers skips the person to your left and there are loads more inane rules in addition.

Basically, the drunker you get, the harder it is.

8. Reinbeer pong

Everyone must immediately put on novelty reindeer antlers.

Next, divide into two teams and take your positions at either ends of a table.

Each team sets out ten cups in a pyramid formation on the table in front of them and fills them with beer (or Prosecco for a an extra twinkly twist).

One member from each team steps up and take turns to throw a ping-pong ball into the other team’s cups.

If they are successful, their opponent must down the cup in which the ball landed.

The defending team may use their reindeer antlers, and only their antlers, to bat the balls away.

The first team to land balls in all their 10 opponents’ cups are the winners.

9. Rox-anta Claus

Put on Roxanne by The Police.

In the traditional version of this game, everyone drinks on the word ‘Roxanne’ but this is the Christmas edition, so everyone must drink on the word ‘red’.

Don’t worry, it comes up just as much.

10. International Drinking Yules

Player must abide by the following set of Christmassy rules.

  • No first names. Assign everyone a reindeer name instead.
  • No swearing. Players that slip up go straight on Santa’s naughty list.
  • No mentioning the word ‘drink’. ‘Sup’ is a good, Dickensian alternative.
  • No finger pointing. Get those antlers back on.
  • Left-handed glass holding only (right handed for Lefties). It displeases the elves.
  • No empty glasses on the table. That just isn’t Christmas.

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Food

Preventing food fraud: Europe’s battle against the spice pirates

Spices are among the oldest food products in the world and still enjoy great popularity today. But h..

Spices are among the oldest food products in the world and still enjoy great popularity today. But how can we be sure of their quality and authenticity? With serious money to be made, counterfeiters are often attempting to fradulently pass off inferior products as the genuine article.

To find out more about how fraud in this arena can be identified and stopped, we went to Belgium to meet a spice trader – and also to see scientists working at the Joint Research Centre’s Fraud Detection Unit.

Spice expert

Herbs and spices are the daily business of Alexandre Veuve; he is the manager of the prestigious spice specialist and gourmet grocery store Le Tour Du Monde En Epices in Waterloo, south of Brussels.

As an expert in the sector, he always guarantees that the products he sells are of the highest quality:

However, he knows only too well that fraud is a common risk in this market:

“There is generally fraud on quite expensive spices, for example saffron. This is a spice that is worth as much as gold, so obviously there are a lot of scams involving it.

“Powders are also the target of fraud because they can be more easily falsified.

“That’s why we make our own powders; we buy the spices whole and then we create them ourselves.”

“There is ofen fraud on quite expensive spices – for example, saffron. This is a spice that is worth as much as gold, so obviously there are a lot of scams involving it.”Euronews

Europe’s food fraud unit

One of the facilities of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Geel in Belgium hosts the European Food Fraud Detection and Prevention Unit. Here, teams of scientists analyse samples of spices imported to Europe using state-of-the-art technologies, in some cases using methods similar to those used for police investigations.

One of the most powerful tools at their disposal is DNA analysis. The genetic map of the spice can indicate whether or not there are foreign biological elements present.

The most common types of fraud are the use of less expensive plants, or the addition of dyes to make the spice appear more attractive or authentic.

Antoon Lievens, a Molecular Biologist at the Unit, says saffron is a good example of where fraud is regularly attempted:

“We’ve found one or two samples that were not saffron at all and the sequencing analysis has shown that it was safflower that has been sold as saffron.

“Another exemple is curcuma (turmeric). We’ve found a sample that was not curcuma, but actually paprika powder that had been dyed or coloured to look like curcuma.”

Analysis via spectroscopy

The detection of fraud is based on a set of investigative protocols, each of which unveils a part of the puzzle. Spectroscopy is one powerful method; it doesn’t require special sample preparation and allows a rapid result through the examination of the samples molecules by a laser beam.

Jone Omar, an Analytical Chemist at the Fraud Detection and Prevention Unit, says this is a foolproof method:

“Spectroscopy is basically based on a ray of light touching the sample, which makes the molecules vibrate and we then obtain a light spectrum readout of the vibration of those molecules.

“So when we focus on a pure food, we have a pure spectrum for it.

“When we spot an adulteration, the spectrum of the vibration of the molecule bands is different.”

This x-ray fluorescence technique, which is also used for non-invasive analysis of artworks to establish authenticity or otherwise, reveals whether or not inorganic materials – such as sand or clay – are present in the plant sample.

Chemical tests such as liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry allow, through the separation of the molecules, the establishment of whether or not there are traces of external dyes present.

These same techniques are also used to create chemical fingerprints of spices, which can then provide even more in-depth information about the nature of the sample.

If the adulteration is confirmed, certain measures can then be taken.

Franz Ulberth, Head of the Fraud Detection and Prevention Unit, explains:

“One of the further measures could be that you send inspectors to check the company, to look into the books, to (examine) transportation papers, establishing a chain of traceability, to trace it back to the origin.”

The spice production and distribution supply chain is spread between different countries and this makes controls more complicated.

In a growing market of global scale, the use of these techniques is key to certifying the quality of the product.

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Food

UK beef exports to US resume after more than 20 years

British beef is back on US menus for the first time in more than 20 years as exports restart on Wedn..

British beef is back on US menus for the first time in more than 20 years as exports restart on Wednesday.

The beef was banned after the BSE outbreak in 1996 when cattle were infected by what became commonly known as Mad Cow Disease.

Some UK beef was cleared for export in March after US inspections in 2019, and shipments from Northern Ireland’s Foyle Food Group will be the first to leave.

Ministers said the US market will be worth £66m to the UK over five years.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, a body funded by farmers and the supply chain, called the resumption of exports a “historic moment”.

Dr Phil Hadley, a director at the board, said: “The US represents an important potential market for our red meat exports and today’s first shipment is the result of the hard work and persistence of industry and government to bring about this crucial next step.

“This important milestone will bring a fantastic boost to the sector and we look forward to seeing more of our red meat served up on dinner tables across the US in the months and years to come.”

In 2019, the US Food Safety Inspection Service undertook a series of audits at UK beef, pork and lamb facilities. Pork exports to the US continue as usual, while exports of lamb have yet to commence.

“This is great news for our food and farming industry, helping the sector go from strength to strength,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice.

Post-Brexit deals

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “This could be just the tip of the iceberg. The free trade deal we are negotiating with the US will create a host of export opportunities for British agriculture. We are seeking an ambitious and high standards agreement that benefits farmers and delivers for consumers.”

However, those free trade talks remain controversial, with critics warning the government not to lower UK food standards in order to strike a deal.

This week a group of celebrities and chefs, including Jamie Oliver and Joe Wicks, said post-Brexit trade deals should not open the floodgates to lower-quality food, citing chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-injected beef.

However, Ms Truss has previously insisted the UK will not allow US chlorine-washed chicken to be stocked in supermarkets as a ban is already written into law.

She said the UK will not compromise on environmental, animal welfare and food standards in its quest for trade agreements.

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GOVERNMENTS DIETARY GUIDELINES ARE FAILING THE PLANET, STUDY FINDS

Dietary advice needs to be more environmentally friendly, say scientists.

After looking at recommen..

Dietary advice needs to be more environmentally friendly, say scientists.

After looking at recommendations from around the world, a new study has found that 98 per cent of government dietary guidelines are falling behind current science for both health and environmental impact.

Theres a good chance youve never taken a second look at your countrys dietary guidelines. Despite this, they often find their way into our lives as the basis of food education, policy-making and labelling initiatives.

Research recently published in the British Medical Journal looked at available dietary guidelines from 85 different countries in every region of the world. They judged each set of guidelines against five environmental targets and one health target that governments had pledged to reach.

The health target was to reduce early deaths from non-infectious diseases by a third, while environmental targets were linked to the 2C limit set by the Paris Climate Agreement. Other environmental targets considered pollution from farming, land use and destruction of nature.

Lead researcher Dr Marco Springmann at the University of Oxford told Euronews Living that our food system is “a major driver of environmental impacts”.


“Without dietary changes towards more plant-based diets, key environmental limits related to climate change, land use, freshwater extraction, and biogeochemical flows associated with fertilizer application risk being exceeded,” he added.

Dr Springmann said that what the team behind the study discovered was “shocking and revealing”. Only two of these sets of dietary guidelines, from Indonesia and Sierra Leone, were in line with all 6 of the health, climate and pollution targets.

The report found that 98 per cent of the dietary guidelines looked at by researchers didnt meet at least one of the global environmental and health targets. Guidelines from 74 of the countries also failed to give recommendations that would keep dietary carbon emissions within the global warming limits set by the Paris Climate Agreement.

Some countries were worse than others. If everyone in the world followed advice from the US or the UK, for example, then food-related carbon emissions would be three times the limits for avoiding dangerous levels of climate change.

HOW CAN DIETARY GUIDELINES BE BETTER?

In every country the study looked at, people were eating more red and processed meat than recommended by WHO guidelines.

The researchers are recommending that new dietary guidelines are brought in line with current science with “stringent reductions in dairy and beef. They also say that there should be specific advice available for people looking to eat healthy and sustainable plant-based diets.

“We also looked at several examples of how reformed dietary guidelines could look,” lead researcher, Marco Springmann wrote in a blog post. “In short, they involved much stricter limits for meat and dairy, both for health and environmental reasons, and to be specific but not overly prescriptive, they included different dietary patterns based around plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes.”

These reformed guidelines are similar to the science-based advice of the “planetary health diet” created by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet and Health. This diet was created with the idea of providing nutritious food to the worlds growing population while addressing the role of agriculture in the climate crisis.

BALANCING HEALTH AND CLIMATE

But Helena Gibson-Moore of the British Nutrition Foundation tells Euronews Living that it is important to remember that dietary guidelines are “also developed to provide adequate nutrition to populations.”

“Dairy products might not be the most environmentally friendly foods to produce but are important sources of calcium and iodine in many countries, so reducing intakes may increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies,” she says.

“Its also important to bear in mind other factors of a healthy and sustainable diet, for example, cultural differences, as well as the cost and accessibility to foods, to ensure that dietary recommendations are achievable for everyone.”

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