December 23, 2005

Christmas Din-Dins Survey

Ith is asking particulars about people's Christmas Dinner habits.

Well, in my family it's always, always been the same thing: Dinner around 4-ish, consisting of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with two veg. Often we start out with hors d'oeuvres of bacon wrapped around water chestnuts, and we usually finish off with port and Stilton cheese.

Looking back, I can't think of a single Christmas Dinner that hasn't followed this basic pattern. But am I looking forward to it when we go off to my brother's house on Sunday? Oooooooh, yeah.

Posted by Robert at December 23, 2005 04:52 PM | TrackBack

My mum's promised me roast beef and Yorkshire pudding when we go visit in January. It's my most favourite! :)

Posted by: Ith at December 23, 2005 05:32 PM

Bacon around water chestnuts? That sounds interesting. When I saw "bacon around..." I was expecting the next word to be scallops!

Posted by: Jay at December 23, 2005 06:14 PM

My husband's English and I'm from the midwest, so our Christmas is an amalgam of what we like best from both traditions:
mashed potatoes
roast potatoes (yes, two potato dishes)
brussels sprouts
Hickory Farms beef stick (don't try any other stupid brand, don't give me no Hillshire Farms)
Chocolate Liqueurs
Sharp cheddar - the sharpest one can find
Club crackers
Plum pudding, fired with lots of brandy and doused with lots of cream

No particular order to all this, the Hickory Farms stuff is for noshing while we wait for the turkey to finish

We would do Christmas crackers, but they are idiotically expensive in the US, so we usually just talk about them.

December 26th, Boxing Day, we do whatever the heck we feel like doing, eating leftovers and especially more chocolate liquers - since Costco sells a kilo for $15 (that's 2.2 pounds of liquor-stuffed chocolate, ladies and gents) we usually eat way too many of those. They are especially cunning, with tiny little wrappers that look just like the bottles that the liquor inside comes from.

Posted by: Teri at December 24, 2005 12:53 AM

Being musicians,singers,and cantors who all perform with our assorted church groups at several different services, our orgy of Christmas eating begins the week prior to Christmas. First is the Slovak Christmas Eve dinner which is now seating 20. Based on the tradition of the Slavic Byzantine church (and traced back into our family 8 generations that can be recalled through family stories)it is a peasant meal that uses no butter or fats, no meats and no leavened breads. Trying to explain it gets alot of raised eyebrows but here goes...the meal starts with a mushroom soup. These mushrooms would have been dried over the hearths during the winter but today we survive on the canned variety. To remind us of the bitterness of life before Christ's birth, the soup is flavored with the sour juice of sauerkraut (another peasant staple in our family's area). The next course is the bobailki or "little pillows", this is the bread that is rolled into logs and then cut into little cubes which do look like pillows which are softened and combined with the sauerkraut...yeah I said it was bizarre but we would have it no other way. This meal was also fast since the ladies were doing all their Christmas baking for the holidays and did not take up any space in the wood ovens. Also at the dinner is the unshriven host or oplatki which is dipped in honey to remind you of the sweetness of the coming birth. In case the Christ Child should come to Earth in disguise (any stranger who knocked at the door was to be invited in for the dinner), he Elijah cup is filled with wine and left at the table with a lit candle and there are many stories of the Roma gypseys knocking at the cottage doors that night and the craziness that ensued. We seldom have such fun now.

Next comes the Italian Christmas Eve which seats 30 and I have just started learning to make since my husband's crew is Italian. This is the feast of the seven fishes (but they do use oils) which include the dried cod that looks like a board (buccalada), smelts, scampi, calamari, whitefish, shrimp (a new addition apperantly since I am just learning these traditions), and squid or octopus. The really different stuff is ordered from a local Italian grocer (yeah...I don't have to do the squid or octopus) and I am just learning all the stories that go along with these foods.

Christmas Eve itself is almost anticlimatic since so many of us are running everywhere that night, it has worked out to my in-laws and my family (only 7 to serve) so we combine Italian with Slovak and come up with a meal of pasta with marinara sauce and pierogis! Talk about carb overload!

Finally Christmas is an eclectic mix of everybody's favorites, standing rib (my dad's), honey baked ham (my husband's), sauted broccolai (my mom's), cucumbers with onion and dill with wine vinegar (my sister and niece's), the infamous green bean mix (my brother's), two kinds of potatoes, three side veggies, salad, cole slaw and deviled eggs (my mother-in-laws contribution and EVERYBODY's favorite). This dinner is seating 15 this year!

Since my house is the biggest (and I seem to be taking on the mantle on both sides of the family as the traditionalist and historian), everything is held here....but I would have it no other way. So many families here have lost their traditions which is a shame since this area used to be a wonderful mixture of Eastern European and Adriatic cultures.

So since I have to begin preparations for the night and our Christmas Feast tomorrow...may everyone have a merry, merry Christmas filled with the joy of the season and the promise and hope of a new life in Christ!

Posted by: janeyek at December 24, 2005 08:53 AM

You Yankees! What the hell is Yorkshire pudding?

You're supposed to eat 'possum on Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Chai-rista at December 24, 2005 09:03 AM

Ooops - Christmas.

Posted by: Chai-rista at December 24, 2005 09:05 AM

Yorkshire pudding is proof that the English have absolutely no idea how to cook.

Posted by: LB Buddy at December 24, 2005 11:02 AM

We will have prime rib, yams & apples, Southern sage dressing, and lots of pie. Have a Merry "Llama" Christmas. Yips!!

Posted by: Barry at December 25, 2005 09:51 AM

Ham, and a Turkey breast. Glazed carrots. Green bean casserole. All good, solid fare but nothing too fancy; Thanksgiving has the more traditional stuff for us; French-Canadian meat stuffing, homemade cranberry relish, carrots and turnips, and every manner of pie. My wife and I both have some roots in Quebec; though at this time of year I miss the traditional Slovak Kolach (a rolled bread with walnuts or poppyseed filling) that my great grandmother used to make. My sister has approximated the lost recipe at great cost and frustration, but it's still not the same as the 90 year old woman sitting by her stove used to make.

The ham is a spiral cut Carando, which is a New England brand made by an Italian family in Western Massachusetts. There is none better.

My Irish ancestors, thankfully, passed onto us none of their food traditions, so we will be free of boiled cabbage and potatoes this Christmas.

Posted by: The Colossus at December 25, 2005 11:22 AM

Me, the wife and her son hit the buffet at a local truck stop (where we actually made reservations[!]): meself, I had me a turkey wing with some big ol' helpin's'a mashed taters & gravy, mac & cheese, and corn *off'n* the cob, all warshed down with a tall glass o'Pepsi-Cola...

Posted by: LDH at December 25, 2005 07:00 PM

Hmm. My grandfather celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday, so we had lots of leftover appetizers and desserts, including an Italian Creme Cake.

Christmas Dinner was turkey, some leftover ham, my world famous dressing, sweet 'taters, green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce.

And clearly Dr. Pepper is the cola of choice for formal dinners.

Posted by: owlish at December 25, 2005 10:17 PM