Here in the UK we have a pretty set routine when it comes to Christmas dinner. Most people will sit down to a roast turkey meal with all the trimmings (and perhaps a little alcohol), followed by dessert, which is then followed by yet more savoury food later on – usually a selection of cheeses and pate. By the end of it, everybody ends up sprawled on the sofa with their belt buckles digging into their stomachs and half a mince pie hanging out of their mouths.
But how would you feel about swapping your traditional dinner for something a little different? Here’s 5 dishes from around the world that offer an alternative to turkey and vegetables…
- Poland: fish, and lots of it. A Polish Christmas meal will often be meat-free in order to remember the animals present at Jesus’ birth. Dinner begins with fish soup or herring, which is then followed by carp. Traditionally, the carp would be bought alive and kept in the bath before being butchered by the lady of the house!
- Nigeria: meat stew. Nothing says Christmas like goat soup. Or, at least, it does in Nigeria. Vast stews prepared with fish, goat, or beef are served with rice and boiled beans and fried plantains. All accompanied by lots of wine, of course.
- Russia: porridge. This dish, known as ‘sochivo’ is served with fruit, seeds and honey, and is usually eaten from a communal bowl in order to symbolise unity. It was once a tradition to throw a spoonful up to the ceiling; if it stuck, it meant there would be a good harvest ahead.
- Japan: KFC. Step aside Santa Claus, because it seems that Colonel Sanders is the only bearded man delivering gifts on Christmas Day in Japan. In fact, the demand for finger lickin’ goodness is so high that people hold reservations up to a month in advance.
- France: everything. Well, ok, not everything – but a lot! Appetizers often include fancy dishes like lobster, oysters, escargots or foie gras, and, for dessert, up to thirteen different dishes can be served. The thirteen desserts are there to represent Jesus and the 12 apostles.
After reading up on all this, I’m not sure whether I’d want to trade in my turkey for something else. However, I wouldn’t mind swapping my sprouts for an alternative – just not the escargots, please.
Yesterday’s post: Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
Tomorrow’s post: The Best Films to Watch at Christmas