Christmas food is interesting to me because few ingredients are “in season” in the normal sense. Unlike, say, Thanksgiving, Christmas is a celebration that ironically takes place during scarcity. The food relies heavily on preserved ingredients like dried fruit, candied fruit, dried mushrooms, cured meat, and baked goods high in fat and sugar. Along the same lines, there are lots of aged items, notably fruitcake, rumpot, and wine.
Because of the bleak winter landscape, Christmas meals are informed by tradition more than conventional seasonality. While dandelions and asparagus are associated with springtime simply because that’s when they grow, Christmas ingredients are often rooted in history and culture. Turkey, for instance, or exotic ingredients like dates, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.
While I have a reverence for those imported tastes and aromas, I also try using neglected local flavours like juniper and evergreen in my Christmas cooking. Smoking with evergreen especially is something I enjoyed. The idea of eating my Christmas tree excites me.
Christmas posts tend to be about one of three things: drinks, sweets, and meats. To me those groups form the core of festive food, generally, and Christmas food, specifically. Here’s a smattering of the Christmas foods we enjoy.
- Sugar Plums
- Gingerbread Cookies
- Gingerbread Houses: Church, My House
- Yule Log Cake – Buche de Noel
- Bread Pudding
- Sticky Toffee Pudding
- Wild Rice and Barley Pudding