Saturday, December 24, 2016

What's For Christmas Dinner?

Tomorrow is Christmas.  Got me thinking about our big Christmas dinner.  Now before I tell you about ours, I wanted to talk about Christmas dinners generally.

I looked up Christmas dinner in Wikipedia and learned that the “typical” American Christmas dinner is turkey with stuffing and roasted potatoes.  Not sure I buy that.  Since Thanksgiving comes a mere month before Christmas, my informal survey of friends and colleagues suggests that people opt for something other than turkey.

Since Christmas is celebrated across the world, I started wondering what typical Christmas dinners in other countries are like.  Turns out Britain is similar to the U.S. with a leaning toward turkey and all of the fixings, plus a Christmas pudding.  Not sure exactly what that is but it is supposedly very traditional.

An article I found from the British Telegraph described some other typical Christmas meals.  In Poland, people celebrate with a meal called Wigilia or Star Supper that includes traditional foods like borscht and dumplings.  Italians celebrate with something called the Feast of the Seven Fishes that includes such delicacies as fried eel, pasta, meat dishes and a sausage made with pig intestines.  Sounds delish, no?  Germans favor a meal of roast goose and red cabbage and it is considered bad luck not to eat well on Christmas dinner.  In Iceland, it is common to dine on puffin or roasted reindeer for Christmas dinner.  Slovakia’s selections are a bit more unusual with a thick sauerkraut soup and fried carp being the typical menu.

According to the Telegraph article, in Japan where a much smaller percentage of the population celebrates Christmas, Kentucky Fried Chicken is a very popular Christmas meal.  Egyptians apparently favor a lamb stew with rice, bread and garlic.  Even though it is summer at Christmastime in Australia, the Christmas meal can range from turkey and stuffing to a more summer-like picnic or barbecue.

While our family has tried various menus over the years – from fresh or smoked ham to beef tenderloin – our most common Christmas dinner (including the menu for this year) is Sauerbraten.  If you’ve never had it, I strongly recommend you try it some time.  It is a beef roast of pickled meat in a thick brown gravy and generally served with potatoes or dumplings.  May not sound too fancy but done correctly, it is absolutely mouth-watering.  It’s the kind of meal we dream about all year long.  Guess we can make it anytime we want and don’t have to leave it to Christmas but for some reason we don’t.  Maybe that’s part of what makes it so special at Christmas.

So that’s us.  What about you?  What does your family serve for Christmas dinner?

-- Frosty

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