Christmas food is one of the most popular features, aside from gifts, of the Christmas festivities.
Although the Christian recognition of the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago has been recognised in various ways since then, Christmas has only become a significant celebration across the western world since the 1800’s. It’s believed to have grown during the long reign of Queen Victoria of England whose husband, German-born Prince Albert, introduced small traditions including the decorated Christmas tree until they became ingrained in homes across England.
Today, during December, people begin shopping and gathering the ingredients for their Christmas menu. Traditional Christmas food is based on the winter climates of the Northern Hemisphere. The feast has usually been a hot, comforting meal of roasted turkey or ham with roasted vegetables and gravy, followed by steamed plum pudding and fruit-mince pies served with cream and custard.
In Australia, this menu has gradually changed as we now often prepare more summer-friendly food for our Christmas meal. The meats are often cooked on the barbecue – marinated steak or glazed pork ribs or honey chicken or garlic seafood – served with Greek or Italian or potato or herb salads and followed by fruit salads or pavlova served with cream or ice-cream. For the very adventurous, there are also ‘bush tucker’ menus that include items like kangaroo and crocodile kebabs, chargrilled barramundi, and pizza topped with kangaroo, saltbush and Australian goats’ cheese.
By far, the most important aspect of the Christmas feast is the gathering together of family and friends around food. Family members usually visit with the parents or another family member so that homes are full of celebration and family.