Just like with any important day, food plays a big part of British culture at Christmas. Here are a few important examples:
Roast Turkey – the classic dish! It needs to be cooked in an oven for quite a long time.
Brussel Sprouts – a vegetable that grows in Western Europe around this time of year. It has a distinct flavour and not everyone loves them!
Trifle – a traditional British dessert, made by layering cream, fruit, custard (and in some more modern recipes, jelly). This dish doesn’t require cooking, and it usually contains a liqueur (an alcohol flavoured with sugar and fruit/herbs/nuts).
Christmas Cake – a very dense cake made with lots of dried fruit, this is another tradition of Christmas. It’s very sweet and often has marzipan and icing on it.
British culture is actually very diverse, and is made up of influences from all over the world, due to the large number of families that have moved here over time. We asked our hosts and members of staff to share their families’ Christmas traditions.
Anna (Teacher) – Our family always eat a slightly strange dessert from Yorkshire, where we’re from – Christmas cake with cheese!
Carol (Homestay host) – Our family has mixed origins – I’m from Ireland, so we have mashed and roast potatoes, but my partner is from Manchester, so we have something called bread sauce, which is made from breadcrumbs, cream, butter and onion.
Safwan (Teacher) – Our family had the normal Christmas meals, but with roast beef, instead of turkey. Turkey is dry and doesn’t have much flavour!
Anisah (Finance manager) – We have the typical roast chicken, but because our family is from Pakistan, we prepare it by stuffing it with rice, lemon and garlic, and serve it with mango chutney to give it a twist!
Abi (Student Services officer) – We have a standard roast, but I absolutely hate Brussel Sprouts!
Monica (Student) – In Colombia, around Christmas we normally have a dessert called “buñoles” with cream. It’s delicious!
Phil (Teacher) – My sister is a vegetarian, so we usually have a nut roast instead of meat.