Andrew Jackson: No turkey on this year’s Christmas dinner - but it’s better than being in Sweden
THERE’S a change afoot in our house this Christmas – and it’s beefy.
We have decided to ditch turkey from the table and instead replace the absent avian with a joint of beef and a ham.
Luckily for us we’ve got friends and family round for dinner so we’re not going to have to spring for both!
But why has the turkey been jettisoned in favour of firmer farmyard favourites?
Put simply, it’s boring.
It sits on your plate all white without even the decency even provide any ocular interest via being an interesting shade.
You eat it and you may as well have not bothered. You get a vague taste of something and then it’s gone again, overtaken by the tsunami of taste that is a Brussels sprout or something equally gas-inducing.
Maybe it’s the turkeys that I’ve been buying, maybe it’s the way that I cook it or maybe it’s the way that I serve it but the gobbler is gone – and it's good riddance.
To my parents however I have committed a crime. I broke the news to them and after a moment’s pause they turned to each other and said “We’ll get one and have it on Boxing Day at home.”
Yes that’s right, the day after having a huge dinner which is so heavy that your body needs four hours sleep in a chair just to process it, they’ll be having another.
It’s the equivalent of a snake swallowing a creature that can sustain it for months and then the next day popping out to the chippy.
If this year’s a success then we may go further out next year and have a ‘foreign’ Christmas dinner.
We all imagine people around the world tucking into a roast dinner but it doesn't work like that.
In the Czech Republic it’s Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. I know.
You can forget a turkey there, if it’s a proper Czech do you can be tucking into fried carp and potato salad. Not for me that one I’m afraid.
In Honduras you can enjoy a turkey tamale on the big day, which is basically a South American Cornish pasty.
That’s right a Ginsters for your dinner. Woo and also hoo.
If you’re in Portugal you may end up nose deep in a plate of boiled salted-dried fish with all the trimmings.
However it’s the Swedes who take it to a whole new level.
It tends to be a three-course smorgasbord in the homes of Stockholm and Malmo.
First up is the fish course, generally including pickled herring and crispbreads. I kid you not.
Next up is the meat one. Forget lashings of gravy with Bjorn, he’s having ham, cold sausages and the interestingly named head cheese.
Which isn’t a cheese but rather meat from the head of a pig or calf set in aspic. I’m confident that it’s nicer than it sounds.
The third course is the hot course which includes meatballs, warm sausages and Janssons frestelse – which is a traditional casserole featuring, amongst other things, pickled sprats and cream.
To be honest, we might end up going back to turkey next year!