Look around you and the warning signs are everywhere – Yes, it is Christmas time and a time for various celebrations. Christmas is the main one I guess.
For us in the kitchen of wherever we are working, it is business as usual and time for us to provide our usual service to our customers who choose to eat out inside of at home – they are an increasing demographic. These days, Christmas has changed so much from when I was younger and we, as cooks or Chefs must be able to read the public’s needs. Or we must create the dishes and events that will entice the general public to our place.
Is the traditional Christmas meal gone? Certainly, the roasted meats and turkeys etc are still popular but more and more our customers are demanding more than the Roast Turkey and the trimmings. So many places now offer cold seafood luncheon and while the price point may seem high, the appeal of this delicious fare is fantastic. The justification? And after all, it is 1 day of the year and the credit card can take another serve. One thing I used to do was to start stockpiling the prawns and whatever would freeze well now – well, in fact, a month or so ago. Prices are better now…not so expensive.
In one way or another, pork will always feature on Christmas menus – I should say for those cultures that love it – in so many countries, hams are the traditional main attraction on the plate; needless to say, there are some cultures that do not use this meat so loved in Australia, Europe and the Americas. In our business, we must be aware of those ethnic groupings that do not use pork. However, in so many of our eateries, Christmas without roasted pork and that scrumptious crackling, simply would not be Christmas. I hope you have your Ham order in by now.
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy Christmas around the world and in the northern hemisphere where it is so cold, the traditional English fare is so acceptable and expected. However, also think about some dishes from Scandinavia – different fish dishes as so good…and different. I love pickled herrings and that was served once at Christmas lunch in Stockholm. Have a look online at the various offerings of dishes from around the Scandinavian region – maybe some will be applicable to you.
Do you have to make your own Christmas cakes? Pudding? It is not necessary. So many excellent Christmas cake and pudding wholesalers now exist and they can be a quick and economical way to serve this traditional finishing touch to a Christmas lunch.
Let’s not forget that New Year’s Eve comes into this celebratory time of year – again traditionally it is a huge event. More and more we are asked to temper drinking rituals and with Responsible Service of Alcohol, we perhaps now look at quality, not quantity. It is up to us if we are in a position of influence in our establishment, to respect these laws of alcohol consumption. Look to good booze and great foods to make the celebration zing.
After having worked so many Christmases, I was at a loss for what to do when I did not work on Christmas Day when I retired. I think I still am wondering and as my family Christmas celebration is held before Christmas Day itself, I find that this year I will cooking and serving Christmas lunch to the homeless in my local community where I live. Gotta love it!