CHRISTMAS TABLE FOR 2021
One would expect this to start with a line about the ‘difficult time’ that we’ve had this year, these last two years in fact. But we’ve had enough reminders of that as it is. Yes, it’s been difficult, but we’re still going, we’re still here, and soon it will be Christmas. It might still be a slightly unorthodox Christmas, but it’ll be Christmas nonetheless, and one to look forward to. So, let’s celebrate with the one thing we all love to have on that cold December day – good food. And to help you plan this out, here are some top tips:
Many people are ordering their food ahead this year. According to the Guardian, Iceland’s sales of mince pie are up 10% as people prepare earlier than usual, while frozen turkey sales are up by 409% year on year. Meanwhile, the number of people who have already booked their Christmas grocery delivery with Waitrose has more than doubled than this time last year.
The surge may in part be due to the fact that, like last year, people don’t know what to expect closer to Christmas time and want to order while they still have the chance. At the same time, the fuel crisis and lorry driver and farm labour shortages mean that supply concerns have risen even higher.
Now although there is no need to outright panic, you should take note of all this and consider also planning ahead.
If you do shop online, October is a good month to look at the Christmas slots still available and secure one for yourself. Making a food plan ahead of time is also a good idea – have an idea of the menu, how much will be needed, and where and for how long it will all be stored.
If you don’t shop online, then perhaps set a budget that breaks down the Christmas ingredient shop into weekly trips, rather than all at once. It will both spread the cost out and mean that you can check if all the things you want are available with each trip, rather than hoping that everything will be there during the ‘trolley rush’ in the days right before Christmas. This will be particularly useful for ingredients that can keep and won’t go offset aside a place in the cupboards for them and buy them way ahead of time.
As for what to buy – this is exactly the time to mix up the traditional dishes with maybe something a bit new.
If turkey or goose sales, sales get so high that there simply isn’t one available for your Christmas table, consider other meat options.
There are some fantastic recipes on BBC Good Food, such as several different versions of roast beef: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-roast-beef-recipes.
But more than that, you can try dishes from other parts of the world, such as the Italian Porchetta for pork: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/porchetta_53969.
In fact, there is a whole list for alternative meat options to explore: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/collections/alternative_christmas_dinner.
You can also choose to forego meat altogether, or at least mix in some vegetarian dishes, such as the Nut Roast as an alternative main dish, or Sauteed Red Cabbage as an excellent side dish. Similar to the meat options, there is also a whole list of vegetarian Christmas main recipes to consider here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/vegetarian-christmas-mains-recipes.
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