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Thanksgiving Versus Christmas Dinner

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:06 am    Post subject: Thanksgiving Versus Christmas Dinner Reply with quote

We in the UK know many of you will be enjoying turkey for Thanksgiving, & of course hope you all enjoy your celebration. But I'm interested to know what meat you choose for Christmas dinner.

Turkey is the roast of choice for many in the UK at Christmas, but I think our sides are not as adventurous as yours.

It would be so helpful if anyone would care to pass on any ideas or old family recipes that will help to make our Christmas dinner a succes for an American couple who will be sharing Christmas with us this year.

Any thoughts & suggestions will be most welcome.
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Joined: 18 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the traditional Christmas dinner in the US is ham. Often baked with pineapple rings and or a glaze of brown sugar and spices on it.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I have learned from friends who celebrate Christmas, the traditional meal often depends on your country of origin and which Christian religion you practice. Some celebrate with the main meal on Christmas Eve, and from those I have attended, the main entrees were fish, not ham.
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Michael Chu

Joined: 10 May 2005
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Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never met anyone who did this, but isn't there something about a Christmas goose?

I'm most familiar with the Christmas ham, but prefer to make a prime rib instead. I celebrate on Christmas Day.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michael Chu, In the UK goose is becoming very popular for Christmas dinner as it was in Victorian times. There is a big swing towards organic & free-range produce here & geese can't be raised by the battery method like chickens. It's very expensive though & yields much less meat than a turkey, although has a much tastier gamey flavour. It does however produce lots of goose fat which is wonderful for roasting potatoes which are an essentiial part of a British Christmas dinner - we don't do mash.

Ham isn't generally considered as the primary meat at Christmas here. We personally don't care for turkey so buy a rare breed four rib beef joint & maybe a leg of pork. New Years Day dinner is often a ham, as it's a public holiday & another chance for indulgence.

I spent a Christmas & New Year with my son in NYC in 2004 & was so disappointed I couldn't find any pork with the rind on. In the UK the rind is thinly scored with a very sharp knife & the joint roasted till the meat is tender & the rind become very crispy - it's known a 'cracklin' very highly prized & the sign of a good cook, everyone adores the crunchy cracklin' my son was very disappointed that Christmas!
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red blur

Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1
Location: Tempe, Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi. I'm new here, but thought I'd chime in. We switch it up every Christmas with a different main dish, though it's usually one of the following: Turkey, Ham, Duck, Prime Rib Roast, or Leg/Rack of Lamb.

If we have Turkey or Duck, we usually have fresh cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes (bake them, peel them, slice them, then sautee them in brown sugar and butter), stuffing (usually bread and sage for us - my mom used to make a wonderful oyster stuffing but has since developed an allergy to shell fish).

Other side dishes that could find their way into rotation are: double baked potatoes (a family favorite), a steamed veggie (usually string beans with garlic butter), creamed peas, mashed potatoes with herb butter, baked squash (butternut and acorn are the favorites), deviled eggs, green salad, cucumber salad, capresse salad (tomatoes, mozzerella, basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil).

That's all I can think of at the moment. I would say Ham and Prime Rib are probably more common than the others for our family. Being so close to Thanksgiving, turkey is only if we're all craving more of it. There is nothing quite like a perfect roast turkey.

Hope that helps. Though, I'd wager that unless the American couple are picky, perhaps they'd like to try typical British dishes rather than the same stuff they'd have here year in and year out.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the most important part of the Christmas celebration is friends celebrating together. The foods you serve are not as important. If I had a suggestion to make of American habits, it would be to make sure you have ice on hand. Americans drink most of their beverages ice cold, especially water and beer. Friends I know that visited England had a very difficult time with these beverages served warm.

What is traditional foods for Christmas depends on the background of families in the United States. Prime Rib, Turkey, Pork Roast, Clam Chowder and Swedish Meatballs are common choices in Southwestern Minnesota.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the US, Turkey is almost a requirement for Thanksgiving. Yes, there are those who choose differently, but Thanksgiving is alternately called Turkey Day. I'd venture to say that for most families, Thanksgiving is the only day of the year when a whole turkey will be roasted. Thanksgiving is all about a feast representing a good harvest, and giving thanks for it.

Christmas, in my experience, is by far more varied. Christmas doesn't seem to have a widely held culinary focus. In my family, the anticipation always has seemed to surround Christmas morning when the entire family vicariously delights in the glee of young children opening presents. Food-wise, Christmas seems to be more about ancillary items like Christmas cookies, candy canes, popcorn strung on the tree, etc. Anything festive will do.

If I were cooking for a random American family, I wouldn't think twice about doing a prime rib or lobster on Christmas. But if I left turkey off the menu on Thanksgiving, I'd be seriously worried - even though there's a good possibility that the pilgrims whose experience we are remembering probably had quite a bit of lobster on that first Thanksgiving. Pehaps moreso than turkey.
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Joined: 10 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm from the UK - and I have always alternated turkey or goose for the main part of the meal at Christmas. I do all the usual side dishes, brussel sprouts with pancetta and flaked almonds, honeyglazed carrots, roasted parsnips and potatoes (in goose fat.... it's allowed, once a year!), bread sauce, kilted chipolatas and lashings of real gravy. Home made Christmas pud with hard sauce or double cream, or Tipsy Laird (Scots equivalent to an English trifle) to follow. Home made Christmas cake and cold meat sandwiches for later in the day.

However, as our main celebration is Hogmanay, I tend to concentrate on that!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our American guests wanted a typically British Christmas & insisted we did it our way with nary a nod to the US!

So we had almost exactly the same as you Ishbel, except for the trifle & the Christmas pud always has a hot white sauce with rum. Our friends have asked for my ch/pudding recipe to make for next year.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We usually have TURKEY at both dinners......



2 or 3 pieces of WHITE UNHEATED BREAD with turkey on top with GRAVY and stuffing to the side,MAN IS IT GOOD!!!!!!!
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