Our family holiday tradition began like all great family traditions; when the local butcher was all out of turducken. I love Christmas. I have an extensive Christmas mug collection, I put festive lights on all flat surfaces, and I make my dog wear reindeer antlers. Christmas to me is all about family and fun, so it means a lot to me that we host Christmas Day dinner every year.
I can’t serve just any old dinner, either. It has to be what I believe the kids refer to these days as ‘extra’. So 5 years ago, my Christmas dinner menu was going in include turducken. In case you just woke up from a 20 year slumber, a turducken is a chicken wrapped up in a duck, wrapped up in a turkey.
Alas, I had waited too long to order one. A wave of panic engulfed me. I had to deliver something that was going to blow them away. I asked what unusual offerings he might have that I could purchase. A goose, he said. People, I was an English Lit major. In a flash I knew what we were doing: A Victorian Christmas Dinner.
After doing some research on Victorian Christmas dinner, we settled on a sage and onion roasted goose, figgy pudding, wassail, and, much to the family’s delight, oysters! Victorian Era folks ate so many oysters that they almost wiped out England’s coastal oysters for good. We celebrated their good taste with a fabulous little holiday raw bar.
The family loved the idea dinner so much that we agreed to pick a different country every year and make their traditional holiday dinner. Year two we picked Spain. We roasted a lamb, made a bunch of tapas, had mandecados, a Spanish crumble cake, and of course, loads of yummy Spanish wines and cavas.
Year three we decided on Mexico. Tamales, chili relleno, tres leches cake, and of course, loads of yummy Mexican beers and tequilas.
Year four was Ethiopia. We feasted on Doro Wat, a spicy stew made with capon, otherwise known as a rooster, injera, a bread made out of teff, and of course, loads of tej, a honey mead that we made copious amounts of.
This year, we let our youngest son pick the country, and he chose Hungary, because he’s always hungry. I am really looking forward to stuffed cabbage, fish soup, loads and loads of Hungarian wines, and, of course, my amazing family and friends.
Next year, I’m thinking of doing Japan’s holiday dinner. Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas? It’s finger licking good!