Back to basics?

Discussion in 'Holiday Cooking' started by Barbara Windermere, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. Barbara Windermere

    Barbara Windermere New Member

    Loving the recipe suggestions people are so graciously sharing here. Can’t wait to try a few out this Christmas.

    But at the same time, I’ve also been thinking maybe it’s time to get back to basics, just to see if there’s anything I’ve missed, or if I’ve put too much of my own stamp on the traditional Christmas dinner.

    Did a search for basic Christmas dinner shopping list and found this article which I quite like (especially as it includes the Michael Bublé Christmas album on the shopping list, which made me giggle). Seems pretty basic, but that’s the entire point.

    What do you guys think? Does this article contain a decent basic shopping list? And should I really be concerned about going back to basics? Is it really that important to get back to Christmas dinner roots, as it were? Or should I just continue as I have been for a while?
    AuntJamelle likes this.
  2. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    Nice list :)
    You should just do what works best for you. I know doing a turkey with all the stuffings and potatoes is a lot of work for me. So now we do a Tourtière (meat pie with potatoes). It's a bit longer to make but serves so well! Just heat and you've got all on the same plate. For dessert I make a few cookies and we have cake.
    AuntJamelle likes this.
  3. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    I think the article is fine - that might be a great approach depending on the person really. I second the thought that you should do what is best for you and your folks you'll be eating with. If your favorite food is lasagna - have THAT for Christmas dinner! :D

    I dislike "rules" about what holiday meals should be, can you tell?

    But back to basics - your traditional recipes - that is all yummy too and if your family enjoys those than it might be nice to go that route this year.

    You've got me curious - what have you been serving - or thinking of serving? As opposed to going back to basics I mean?
  4. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    None of that is "basic" for us for Christmas and never really has been in our family. When I was growing up we always had chicken and rice on Christmas. So you have to decide what your "Back to Basics" is for YOU and your family and what your traditional looks like. The article talks about what the traditional of old was with pheasant and duck and some other meats, have you ever served those things? Does your family like those things? If so, then go for it! It doesn't hurt to change things up now and then and go a different route, but don't feel like you have to. I honestly have no idea what i'm cooking on Christmas this year. We still haven't really figured out what our "traditional" Christmas meal looks like for our family yet. My kids are picky and don't eat most of the traditional Thanksgiving meal that I cook every year, so we haven't put much emphasis on a Christmas meal for just the 5 of us since we are never near family being a military family.

    Traditions and "basics" are what you and your family make them. :)
  5. Myron's Mom

    Myron's Mom Well-Known Member

    It's a nice article and if that is your roots and what is basic for you and your family then by all means do that. We are another family that none of that is or was basic. I never had turkey for Christmas until I was married to my current husband!
    I grew up with roast pig that was done Christmas Eve day and served cold. Chicken soup and sarma ( cabbage rolls with sauerkraut, no tomatoes). We never had "side dishes" or "starters". I never realized how strange our meal seemed to outsiders until a cousin brought up how perplexed her now husband was because there were no dinner plates of any kind to eat off. We only used soup bowls, lol. We would balance the pork and bread on the rim of the bowl.
    Traditions change, that roast pig became not practical after grandma was gone and families moved away. We now do ham instead.
    I don't like rules either, lol. So to me traditions and basic are what has meaning to my family and things that we like to eat. In my house we have adopted my family's traditions ( my husband and son love it), but my cousin married into a Italian family and they have Italian Christmas. It's what works and brings joy to your family.
  6. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    Several years ago I started cutting out a lot of my Holiday menu items. Now we are really down to the basic items that we like the most. No one has complained about what was left off. I did ask them what they wanted for the menu that really meant Christmas (or Thanksgiving) to them. Now I have time to do extra things if I want and only if I want. I say go for it.
  7. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    That Christmas dinner list (minus the parsnips, sprouts, and pudding) was what I grew up eating. When I got married, we had a turkey over at my in-laws house on Christmas Then we changed the date to Dec. 26th for Christmas dinner with the my in-laws and started back to my parents for Christmas dinner.

    My brother and his wife asked to take over Christmas dinner last year. We had appetizers and stromboli for Christmas dinner. The house wasn't decorated at all except for a Christmas tree. We stood around and ate. It was so different. It felt like we crashed a football playoff party. This year we are going to my parents on the Saturday before Christmas to have a "Christmas dinner" in a decorated house with Christmas music. Then on Christmas day, we'll go over to my brother's house and not feel like we missed out on the celebration of Christmas.
  8. DahliaDoll

    DahliaDoll Well-Known Member

    I love traditions, but, basically, what's already been said here … do what's right, good, and festive for your own family, the time you have, and your interests. Make your meals a joyous occasion.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  9. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    I agree with everyone else ... do what is right for you and your family. If you are not sure then its time to call a family meeting and discuss dinner options.
    sweetpumkinpye likes this.
  10. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    things have certainly changed for us over the years. When my dad was alive Christmas dinner was a huge roast meal that my mum would prepare all day and never got a chance to enjoy the day. Now we do a much simpler but still very festive meal of cold meats and salads. It works for us for now.
  11. Barbara Windermere

    Barbara Windermere New Member

    Sorry for such a late response. I hadn't quite seen the email notifications!

    But thanks for so many lovely responses.

    We did doing roast beef and Yorkshire puddings last year, and no-one complained (in fact, my Yorkshires were greatly complimented).

    Just feel so much pressure to be "traditional", but it's so good to know that there are plenty who do Christmas as what it means for their family.

    Maybe I'll do ham this year! There'll definitely be more Yorkshire puds, too!
  12. housewife2

    housewife2 Well-Known Member

    do what ever you want and makes you happy. i have breakfast and open presents with all my kids . then for dinner we go to my daughters for the big meal. we all bring a dish or two to help out. everyone is happy . im looking fwd to it
    AuntJamelle and Ahorsesoul like this.
  13. Lori K

    Lori K Member

    For most of my married life, we've gone to a family member's home on Christmas Eve, where a large "traditional" Christmas dinner was served. More recently, I've spent Christmas Eve with friends who serve a "non-traditional" Christmas sit-down dinner -- could be lasagna, shepherd's pie, or whatever this home-taught gourmet chef wants to try out. On Christmas Day, we've traditionally hosted a mid-day brunch buffet for any family or friends who want to join us. I usually prepare a breakfast casserole, baked french toast, hash brown casserole, breakfast meats, fruit, and assorted pastries, alonng with beverages, all served using the china, silver, and crystal. It's what works for us. After a heavy Eve dinner, we wanted something lighter, but also elegant, a special meal for the holidays.
    luludou, PamelaG, AuntJamelle and 3 others like this.
  14. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    Doing what you would enjoy with the least amount of last minute prep is what I vote to do.

    I lived with an aunt who always made turkey. I hated it because with only thee people we had just finished up the leftover turkey she had fixed for our Thanksgiving in Nov.

    As a teen I lived with my mom who made pizza. She had two other younger children so when she asked them what they wanted it was pizza. She had a little problem adjusting to such a non-traditional meal but it made everyone very happy. Very little prep and less dishes.

    Now I make Prime rib because it my favorite.
    AuntJamelle likes this.
  15. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    We do Christmas Eve here and once again an easy meal because most of us have worked that day and we are going to be eating big meals for the next few days. Christmas Eve is fresh fruit and cheese and then we have snacks while watching a movie. It is one of my favourite meals of the year.
    Breakfast for us is cereal, (the sugary kind that is frowned upon :)) and something like croissants and pastries or hot donuts, juice and coffee.
    We still do a big Christmas night meal at my mum's but it is easy foods, cold meats and salads and we have the leftovers on boxing day.

    All these meals are what my family like but also easy to prepare for me so that I get to enjoy the festivities.
    I think that times have changed and we should all do what works for our families.
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  16. missjane

    missjane Well-Known Member

    Except for turkey and cranberry sauce, I've never had any of that food at Christmas, and I always thought what we had was pretty traditional. I suppose it depends on where you live what is considered traditional.
    Until my grandmother died 8 years ago, Christmas dinner was always eaten at her house. It was turkey, ham, dressing, cranberry sauce, marinated vegetable salad, mashed potatoes, English peas, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and an assortment of cakes and pies. My mom carried on the tradition for about 3 years after that.
    For us, the cooking process IS part of the celebration because we like to cook and spend a lot of time together in the kitchen on a regular basis, not just at Christmas, but now that my children, except DD22, are married, we have a more low-key Christmas dinner. I still cook several of the same things my grandmother made because we like them, just on a smaller scale. Sometimes, my married children eat with us, sometimes not, because they may be at in-laws houses.
    On Christmas eve, we have snack-type food with gumbo and shrimp etouffee. With Thanksgiving and my children going to so many celebrations at other people's houses where the traditional foods ARE served, they're tired of that, so we go non-traditional that night, but guess what? It's become the tradition for our family to eat that on Christmas Eve. If I mention doing something else, they're all .....NO! We want what you always serve. So, I suppose that's how traditions are made!
    All that being said - y'all know I have to do this - most of the foods that are traditional are traditional because that's what was available at that time of the year, either being caught, killed, or grown in people's gardens. That's why so many cold crop vegetables are traditional at Christmas. People couldn't run down to the local super market and buy all the ingredients fresh. People had chickens and cows, so access to a lot of milk and eggs, so lots of puddings at Christmas, too. None of us has to rely on what's only available because we can catch it or grow it, so veer from the traditional path if you want to. Cook what you and your family like.
    Talk to your family and see what they want. Is there something that they particularly think they should have to for it to be "Christmas" to them? That's how I found out my children prefer what we normally eat now on Christmas eve. If there's something that you throw away more of it than is eaten, I'd say it's a menu take-off...waste of time and money.
    Holiday_Mom and Ahorsesoul like this.
  17. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    My kids are the same. Over the years I have asked them about changing some things, thinking that they may be bored with what I serve. They are very decisive on not changing things as they love what we do. The only thing that we change is the desserts.
    Mum always makes a hot fruit pudding and we have that with ice cream and custard. We do two other desserts and that might be a trifle, pavlova, pie of some sort, and last year we did an ice cream bar with various toppings. Dessert is the one thing that we don't eat a lot of as we are normally full from dinner so we find this the easiest thing to change up.
    Holiday_Mom and Ahorsesoul like this.

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