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  • Russell Brown,

    UPDATE: The below is now an explanation of why the first few comments have been deleted. It wasn't going anywhere ....

    A post and discussion about Christmas feasts is highly likely to contain mention of meat.

    If you disapprove of that, or simply don’t eat meat, you can suggest non-meat feast delights. That would be great, especially if they’re things you make yourself. It’s always good to hear people’s stories.

    But clicking on a Christmas feast post and delivering a “meat is murder” lecture really isn’t useful or appropriate. Give it a rest, please guys.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • R A Hurley,

    fair point, Russell... please go ahead and consign me to the fire using your mod power... it's entirely deserved...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to R A Hurley,

    fair point, Russell… please go ahead and consign me to the fire using your mod power… it’s entirely deserved…

    Cheers. But I was serious about hearing about non-meat Christmas feasts – it will interest people.

    PS: And I didn't necessarily disagree with you. I don't pretend to be able to make a good moral argument for eating meat (or even dairy products).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Fraser Gardyne,

    A very enjoyable read thanks Gareth. It all sounds delicious and I'm sure helps bind relationships and friendships. Great food does that. Sad to see Paul Prudholme died in October.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 22 posts Report

  • Emma Hart,

    Christmas is a time of year that reminds me very much of my mother, and not just because that's when she died. Every year, her kitchen would turn into a factory for making Christmas mince pies. Hundreds of them, I swear. When I lived at home, I was SO sick of them. Now I can't look at one without thinking of her. I miss the smell of them baking.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen,

    Your days of feasting is definitely something to admire Gareth.

    Our Xmas feasting has become a slightly disjointed period.

    I grew up with a somewhat confused idea of what Xmas food was. With Dutch parents there was the Xmas ring, a butter, sugar and almond mix that was usually made several days ahead of time and somehow seemed to shrink in the fridge (absolutely nothing to do with raids by a young boy) it would then be rolled into a sausage shape and encased in pastry and finally formed into the ring that was baked and iced. On Xmas eve it would be cut into segments (not unlike a sausage roll) and devoured.

    But that was probably the only constant part of Xmas eating. We would have a big dinner Xmas eve but not anything in particular, although in later years (I guess when my parents could finally afford it) a ham became a major part of dinner. BTW Xmas eve was the celebration because one year my brothers opened ALL the presents at 5 am, so my parents switched to opening presents on the eve.

    As I grew older my brother's girlfriends became part of the dinner, bringing kiwi traditions into the meal, pavlova, strawberries etc but no Turkey. And then we started to be invited to their family dinners on Xmas day as well as our Xmas eve celebration. I have fond memories of one year eating a large proportion of three Xmas hams.

    And then time passed, and with it, my family grew smaller, first my eldest brother, then my father. Now my mother no longer lives at home and we really have no family centre to hang Xmas onto. We will try to organise something with my other brother and his children for Xmas but it may not happen.

    Instead our Xmas has shifted from my family to my partners family and most importantly to the circle of friends. Now we look forward to a dinner for 20+ friends where my job will be to slow roast an entire pig - an all day event that will gather all our friends to celebrate ... well ... friendship.

    It will be our second roast pig after much internet research and a practice run a month ago, if the first one is anything to go by it will be wonderful. We have that gathering early to avoid all the genetic family events. In many ways it has become my real family Xmas and the one I look forward to the most. Everyone will contribute to a course, sometimes a simple roast veg (yum), but sometimes someone will do something more adventurous (we made an amazing mushroom ravioli with shaved truffle as entree one year).

    Then we will move on to Xmas itself, for us this year will be some kind of nice breakfast and then a late Xmas lunch with my partners sisters. There will be all the expected elements as well as my partners amazing curried eggs which she now has to bring to almost every event (including the friends Xmas above) and my sister-in-law's shortbread, which nobody else can seem to make quite as well. And then home for a quiet dinner of something small. Next day is one of the many birthdays that land almost on top of Xmas itself it has the advantage of using up many of the leftovers. The family now has three young nephews to cater for ... I can't help but wonder what they will remember and which food will mean Xmas to them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    One food thing I remember from being a kid was the ritual around the making of the Christmas pudding.

    Mum always used to make them from scratch (well, apart from the ready-glacéd cherries and dried fruits…and beer…and suet…and flour…but you know what I mean…) and that meant a week or two of the mixture sitting in a washing-up bowl (only thing big enough for around a dozen puddings).

    But the most important thing was that everyone in the family having at some point to stir the mixture (quite a feat…it was a huge mass, sticky, heavy, dense…and when you’re about five years old its quite a task :) ) and *make a wish* before it was put into white pottery basins, covered in greaseproof paper circles and then aluminium foil and stored away until needed.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report

  • Ross Mason, in reply to stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    And the ritual stirring in of thruppences. Then my uncle (younger than me BTW) and me would spend the after dinner match to get the most loot out of the pudding.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • Gareth, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You do realise, Bart, that now we will require pictures of your whole piggishness...

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 269 posts Report

  • Gareth, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Yes: my grandmother used to insist on the family stir, and she kept silver threepence for the lucky coins. Which we didn't get to keep, because luck was good enough.

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 269 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Gareth,

    You do realise, Bart, that now we will require pictures of your whole piggishness…

    hmmmm They might have to be the early pictures, since roasting pig requires a constant supply of apple cider - some of which is used to spray onto and baste the pig.

    It's not my fault they were the instructions on the internet and I always follow instructions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Grant McDougall,

    Wot ? No mention of truffles, Gareth ?

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report

  • Grant McDougall,

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report

  • Gareth, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    We do expect to have some truffles around Christmas - but before, or after? Big question... ;-)

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 269 posts Report

  • Gareth, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    Of course... Cale or Kale?

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 269 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart,

    Christmas day tends to be complicated with us, with many different nuclei of family around the country. This year we're hosting it at home, with a subset of family, plus various overseas students and their partners who'd be on their own otherwise. I've had so many kindnesses while I've been overseas at Christmastime, and have been so warmly welcomed into other peoples' homes, that we are more than happy to be inclusive.
    One of my visitors is Canadian/Latvian, and has kindly offered to cook up a Christmas eve feast of piragi - small bacon turnover things.
    The Christmas pudding is made - I used a Nigella Lawson recipe for 'ultimate Christmas pudding'. I'll have to say that I am a little dubious about the finished product - which may be my fault as I cheated on the suet and used a packet suet product - but once we've flamed it in brandy and smothered it in brandy butter it will probably be just fine.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • John Farrell,

    I must admit we cheat - we buy christmas cake from Couplands, and christmas pudding from the Danish Delights bakery, in Hillside Road. No one complains.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report

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