09 January 2015

Traditions


The last month is a time steeped in traditions some of them very old, my understanding is that you only have to do something twice for it to become a tradition.  The food eaten as part of the celebration varies across the world but it is usually the same food each year.  In the UK a Roast Turkey is the centre piece of a meal on Christmas Day, this was popularised by the Victorians although it was eaten by some for many centuries prior.  The Christmas Pudding most usually served for dessert is thought to date back to medieval times.

As a vegetarian I don't eat turkey and I have to confess that I have never really been a fan of Christmas pudding or cake, minces pies or trifle.  I can well remember spending the period after eating on Christmas day in bed not because I had eaten too much but because the food is so and rich and my digestive system complained.  I have been mulling over thoughts about Christmas food lately. We spend alternate years at home, the other year is spent with parents/grandparents.  When we go away for Christmas we eat the traditional food of the season (not me!) but if we are at home I don't prepare any of them.  My oven is big enough to take a turkey but not much else so I usually cook a ham or chicken.  I have a lot to do when we have Christmas at home so I prefer not to use my time preparing food that I will not eat, as this means I have to make double the amounts so that I have something to eat too.  December can become a month of excess on so many fronts, I always strive to keep things simple so cooking double food quantities does not sit well with me.

I have worried that my particular diet means that my children are missing out on the traditional food of Christmas until I realised that every other year they get offered that food at their grandparents houses.  We can make our own 'traditional' food at home creating new ones of our own and giving the children the best of both worlds which they can choose from in their future.  So I think our new tradition will be a roast dinner based around a ham or possible a chicken with a Spicy Lentil Loaf as a veggie option and an apple pie for pudding. If we are in want or need of cake, then the wonderful rich and light Rosemary Loaf Cake, Nigella Lawson's take on the Madeira cake and Maids of Honour another Nigella recipe in place of the mince pies.

So what is on your menu at Christmas do you have your own traditions or stick to the old ones?

13 comments:

  1. as a not traditional person myself, i can very easily question existing ones. and one is the traditional meals at special occasions. i've heard so many people voice their dislike or preferred foods, but nothing changes because 'it's tradition'. while i appreciate the sentiment, it does seem a little silly.
    discovering what your own family and yourself, love most and feels special, seems the way to go.

    my daughter is super selective with food and has zero interest in cake (unlike her mama!), so special meals aren't the cornerstone of our festivities. not yet anyway.

    spicy lentil loaf with xmas pudding to follow would make me a very happy reveller lol

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  2. We enjoy Christmas dinner at my parents home every year. My dad is English, and cooks the traditional turkey, and all the trimmings. He doesn't cook the Christmas pudding, no one would eat it :)

    My little man and I are vegetarians, and so I usually bring something for us to eat to go along with all the vegetables my dad cooks. We have yet to have the same thing twice, so as of yet, there is no tradition for us. I think for us the tradition is more in the sitting down and having a meal together, with my parents and my brother and his family, but maybe I should come up with the one vegetarian dish that could make a menu tradition for my little man and me.

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  3. What you wrote about worrying that your kids will miss out on traditional Christmas foods really struck a chord with me. We are yet to find our own Christmas traditions, but the ones I grew up with just don't sit well with me (lots of excess)...and I often worry that if I change them, opt for something much more low key, my kids will miss out. But in the end, I think that as long as we infuse our own traditions with love, our kids will remember them that way, and not feel like they're missing out at all. They'll cherish them as their very own!

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  4. How interesting to read about your Chrons disease, and how you manage it. Sounds like you do a great job. I think that your children will love your 'traditional' Christmas foods, and the ritual of decorating the house, the table etc is as much part of making it special as the food. We don't have turkey at Christmas any more, mainly because we didn't like eating left over Turkey and trimmings,so we now have a beef joint, a ham joint and fish (for me, I eat virtually no meat), on Christmas Day, and have done for the last 5 or 6 years. We all love it, and everyone relishes the left overs for the Christmas week, because there is lots of variety. It is no less festive, and has become our 'tradition'. X

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  5. Our neighbours always have a nut roast for Christmas dinner, which has always struck me as a very good choice. Maybe in years to come, when we no longer have a many to cater for, I'll follow their lead.

    We do have the traditional fare, although we don't overindulge. None of us like the overfed feeling. Our turkey comes from across the road and the collection is part of the tradition. We even visit the birds, sometimes, in the preceeding months.

    I know that my children love our Christmas traditions, but I'm sure they would equally love any tradition we kept, so long as we did it together and it stayed absolutely exactly the same every year.

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  6. I feel this way more about Thanksgiving in the States (the hubs does like his turkey), than I do about Christmas. Three out of four of my grandparents are 100% Italian, so Christmas was the time for homemade pasta, lasagna, ravioli, which is easy to translate to our current day diet.. I am too a long time vegetarian, but am lucky to have a husband who will eat vegetarian based meals and our girls are vegetarians as well. We live far from any family so over the years our holiday vegetarian meal has become our tradition and if we do go out of state to visit during the holidays, at least myself and the girls don't end up eating that much. I too don't really enjoy eating heavy meals so I really miss our lighter ones when we are away from home.

    So our own traditions become their normal..however untraditional they look on the outside..maybe ones they will carry on to their own families someday.

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  7. I just read your crohns story...unbelievable a doctor would say you troubled digestive tract was not related to what you put in it. Just makes me shake my head! Good on you for digging deeper to find ways to manage it.

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  8. we adapt traditions to make them gluten free, and try to create a balance between a special meal and not excessive greed or spending.

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  9. We are all vegetarians here (and my son is highly dairy intolerant) so the holidays have always been a mixed bag. But we have mastered the art of seitan (wheat gluten meat) so it's been easy to blend with everyone. We vary between faux-turkey stuffed with rice, nuts and legumes or simple simmered seitan slices with pan stuffing on the side. Either way, vegan mushroom gravy is always served. The rest is the same as everyone : Mashed potatoes, salad, bread and veggies... It's usually a pretty stress free event. I'm guessing that gluten might be an issue with crohn's right?

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    1. I have never come across seitan I shall have to look that up. Gluten is not an issue for me but I know that it is for some with crohns.

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  10. We, like you, spend every second Christmas at home and the interim with grandparents. When at home I don't do a turkey and ham and instead let the family choose their favourite things for the day. It can be an unusual medley but I love that we are making our own tradition and still keeping it special.

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    1. I love that idea! Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  11. We are fortunate not to have any serious dietary needs here so we can eat as much (or little) of the more traditional fare as I or my husband choose to prepare :) I'm also a Nigella Lawson recipe fan - love that Rosemary Loaf Cake! xo

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