Sunday marked 4 weeks until Christmas Day. For the first time I am going to cook Christmas Dinner for my partners family at our home in Darlington. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about my preparation, shopping, researching, learning and recipe hunting on the run up to the big day in a Christmas Dinner Preparation Diary as a first time host.
So before I even get to grips with dressing my Christmas Table and looking at a ‘theme’ and even buying Christmas decorations, I’ve at least got a menu decided and have started to pen a shopping food list. Both are kept in my purse and in my iPhone for reference in case I catch a bargain whilst shopping online, out in the local supermarket or on the high-street.
So, I’m writing a list. I love lists. I really do! Lists help me get organised and know what to buy, prepare and to-do on the day. Ironically I have a list for my lists. This is my ‘master’ list – yes I am that prepared. On this list;
- Food & Groceries
- Recipes/Cooking Information
- Christmas Decorations
- Christmas Table Linen
- Christmas Dinner Set
- Christmas Placemats & Coasters
- Christmas Table Centre Piece
- Christmas Place settings
- Christmas Napkin Rings
However, apart from Turkey I didn’t even know what to put on the 1st list. I didn’t even know if the in-laws ate Turkey. So, I’ve kind of got a ‘maybe’ item on my list. Did I mention that Christmas is 4 weeks last Weekend?
Next step: find out if the in-laws eat Turkey on Christmas Day. I am hosting an elaborate Sunday Dinner essentially for a family that I only have the odd dinner with and have only cooked two meals for before. I know some aren’t the biggest vegetable eaters, others like one type of potato over another and my partner pretty much eats anything put in front of him. I proceeded to ask my other half some probing questions… based on his 28years of Christmas Dinner meals. You would think after 28 years of Christmas Dinners he might know the answers, you’d be surprised.
Q) Do you eat Turkey on Christmas Day?
Well that was the most unhelpful. This then proceeded to result in a 10 minute discussion on other Christmas dinners and meat choices. I now have Turkey/Chicken on my 1st and 2nd list.
Q) Do you usually have brussel sprouts?
A) It will be expected.
Q) Do you have a starter?
A) Kinda. Mum has prawns and a dollop of seafood sauce.
Q) Shall I make a nice fancy prawn cocktail?
A) Errrr, well mum doesn’t like lettuce.
Q) Well can I do it with lettuce on the side or bottom and she simply doesn’t eat it?
A) I guess.
I am beginning to see a lack of gusto from the other half about preparing for this meal!
Questions went back and forth and a list of menu choices and alternatives for all guests was made. One thing was for sure, we’re having Christmas Pudding. Whether it is homemade (which I might attempt) or bought, we’re having one – this being the main thing I look forward to over the Christmas period. When I say ‘we’re having one’, I do mean three of us. Two guests usually have a hot chocolate sponge pudding on Christmas Day… apparently ‘they’ll bring their own’…. OK.
So after a lengthy discussion and head scratching, the Menu for Christmas Day is currently;
Prawn Cocktail, with optional Lettuce Dressing
Fresh homemade mini-bread roll
Roast Turkey/Chicken with
Roast potatoes, roast parsnips, fresh vegetables and Pigs ‘n’ Blankets
Homemade Gravy, Stuffing balls, Bread Sauce, Cranberry Sauce, Yorkshire Puddings
Choice of Chocolate Pudding
with custard or cream
Needless to say I’ve started to make the food list up and I’ve bought one thing this Friday, Sage & Onion Stuffing. It’s a slow start.