Greetings from the UK!
We celebrated yesterday with a traditional English supper. Of course, I forgot my camera, but my brother was kind enough to let me snap a few shots with his itouch!
We started with champagne and small bites. White anchovy topped with creme fraiche, pate de foie gras, smoked duck breast with blueberry coulis and smoked trout with capers.
Then it was on to the main meal, a traditional turkey dinner. I was surprised that cranberry sauce was served, as I thought that was a distinctly American thing. The highlight, in my opinion, was the potatoes, which our hostess par boiled and then roasted in goose fat. They were divine! You can also see my place setting in this photo, complete with a cracker, which I totally opened wrong. Inside was a little prize, as well as a red paper crown, which everyone at the table wore.
Alongside the cranberry sauce was some thick white stuff I’d never seen before. It was bread sauce, which the English put on their turkey. It’s made from bread (duh) which is boiled with milk, an onion and some spices. The British love this stuff. You can find a recipe for it here.
For dessert we had Christmas pudding, which I’d also never had before. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I ever want to have it again. When I was making plans to come to England I asked my little sister if we’d be having Christmas pudding. Her response: “Christmas pudding is gross. bring some Betty Crocker.”
I finally understood what she meant last night. Christmas pudding is gross. It’s a cake filled with dried fruit, soaked with cognac and aged at least a year. It tasted boozy, and the fruit was hard as a rock (it was store bought, so I’m not insulting our hostess, I hope). I think they got a big kick out of seeing us try it.
The only traditional thing we didn’t do was watch the Queen’s speech. Every year the Queen of England addresses the nation in a televised speech. As our host pointed out, “You Americans spend Thanksgiving watching football, eating a big meal and falling asleep. Here, we spend Christmas doing the same with the Queen’s speech. The difference is we don’t need a big meal to fall asleep.” I guess it’s pretty boring.
It was great fun to step outside of my traditional Christmas and see how others celebrate. How did you spend your Christmas?