Tag Archives: Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner

Posted on September 21, 2010 by

We prepare for weeks, spend hours chopping vegetables, scour the shelves for those “must have” items that are only ever available at Christmas time like sponge fingers for the trifle and what do we get out of it? We get that awful feeling of over-indulgence remedied by antacids and Panadol and an afternoon nap. Why do we go to so much effort in order to do this to ourselves? Because it is Christmas and it’s what we’ve always done and will continue to do so every year. You might even say that eating vast quantities of food in a one day period is rooted in tradition with most families at Christmas.

Choosing the ideal Christmas dinner menu in Australia however can often be a major dilemma as a direct result of the high percentage of families originating from, or recent descendants of, the northern hemisphere where Christmas is celebrated during the thick of the winter months. Weather has quite clearly influenced the traditional dinner cooked on this day. In the United Kingdom the tradition includes the roast turkey and ham with stuffing (unique stuffing recipes from household to household as each individual takes the opportunity to show off their special technique with secret ingredients handed down to them by their nanna, and so on). Roast potatoes, peas carrots and the dreaded brussels sprouts, which everyone loves to hate and yet continue to be a main addition to every Christmas dinner, and lashings of gravy and cranberry sauce set this meat selection off perfectly. There are many variations of this meal around the world as many daring individuals attempt to create a modern twist on the traditional classic, but it all stems from this original set up.

If this is the meal you received on Christmas Day every year as a child, it’s quite likely that when trying to capture the very essence of Christmas with your own family, this is exactly the meal that you will create for your own family. However, while this may be a very suitable meal in the middle of winter, all warming and comforting and substantial, it’s not exactly appropriate when you’re perspiring heavily in 40 degrees heat. In Australia, being the middle of summer when we celebrate Christmas, this traditional meal causes a bit of stress for some families. On one hand, it’s the memory, the tradition that urges us to recreate the roast dinner if that’s the culture you were born into. On the other hand, the weather on Christmas day is better accompanied by a cold buffet, a barbeque lunch or something that wouldn’t be out of place at a picnic on the beach.

So what do you do? Do you put childhood memories first and slog it out in the steaming hot kitchen for hours only to spend Christmas eating hot, bulky foods that will have you sleeping with the air-con on full blast? Or do you let sense rule the decision and prepare a seafood salad with plenty of cool drinks, cold meats and head to the pool side for a lazy but highly refreshing day? That, of course, is entirely up to the individual who controls the Christmas dinner tradition. There is always the option to combine the best of both worlds – decorate the dinner table heavily with the traditional decorations but instead of carving a great big turkey, have a large plate full of garlic prawns. Problem solved!

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