Holidays are all about eating. Well, they are about people too, but somehow, the idea of groups celebrating without food and drink is quite unthinkable. So when you take the two largest holidays in the Western world and put a bunch of people together, you know you’re in for a big feast. Here’s a beginner’s guide to assembling an unforgettable Thanksgiving and Christmas feast.
Turkey for Thanksgiving
First things first, recognise that Thanksgiving is all about the bird. Mind you, we don’t mean any ordinary, everyday chicken, but the best kind of fowl – the turkey.
To achieve Thanksgiving meal success, you will first need to know how to remove the neck and other internal organs – otherwise known giblets – from the bird. Once you’ve got that done, vigorously season both inside and out with salt and pepper. If you choose to brine your bird, you should let it sit for approximately one hour for every pound of turkey.
The stuffing is a key component in getting your dish right. Essentially a starchy mix made out of bread chunks, cooked vegetables, herbs and bits of meat, the stuffing should go into the bird through its neck and body cavities. From there, truss the bird and pop it into a roasting pan before leaving it in an oven to cook to perfection.
Beyond The Fowl: Common Thanksgiving food
Other than the signature turkey, Thanksgiving pies are equally as popular, with apple pie and pumpkin pie as classic crowd favourites.
Of course, a Thanksgiving dinner is nothing without its side dishes. Cranberry sauce, roasted and mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, berries, pumpkin, cornbread and bread rolls are all mainstays on the dinner table.
In fact, putting your own spin on these Thanksgiving dishes can help you set your Thanksgiving menu apart from your competitors. Instead of the regular corn, why not try corn pudding? Turn your typical green bean sides into green bean casseroles that gives your diners a salty and creamy taste that will leave them wanting for more.
Christmas Feast Ideas for your Menu
Christmas is a time of people coming together and enjoying family and friends, and nothing says ‘I love you’ more than having a good meal with loved ones.
A good Yuletide meal isn’t hard to whip up. Depending on the various Western cultures, there are many ways to go about preparing for your Christmas feast. The heart of the meal is usually a big, meaty item – a chunky leg of ham with applesauce or roast beef tenderloin with brown gravy normally acts as the centerpiece. Occasionally, turkey and roast pork make an appearance too.
Here are more ideas on what dishes you can consider enhancing to prepare for your signature Christmas menu:
- Baked ham with brown sugar glaze
- Glazed spiral ham
- Chicken Galantina with brown sauce and mashed potatoes
- Roasted brussel sprouts
- Roasted red potatoes
- Beef Wellington
- Mustard and herb crusted rack of lamb with roasted vegetables
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Braised lamb shank
And of course, there are the sides; brussels sprouts, peas, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and roasted root vegetable all make for a classic Christmas dinner.
If you’re looking for some good starters, pâtés, terrines or cheese boards are a great pre-meal warm up before the serious feasting begins to add on to the food coma.
Christmas Dessert Ideas
Christmas will not be complete without desserts, and what better time than Christmas to add a jolly twist to your typical dessert menu?
For cakes, you can consider adding festive decorations such as edible Christmas tree chocolates or snowflakes along with a chocolate mirror glaze to make your usual chocolate cake look even fancier. Perhaps take a step further and go beyond Christmas decorations — make your entire Pavlova look like a Christmas tree!
Here are some other Christmas desserts to consider:
- Christmas Trifle
- Strawberry Cheesecake
- Meringue Tart
- Salted Caramel Tart
- Crème Brûlée
- Chocolate Mousse
- Peanut Butter Caramel Tart
Don’t forget the drinks! Create your own festive eggnog to fire up the spirit, or how about concocting some bright green cocktails that will remind your diners of the grinch?
Regardless of how you plan to serve up a Christmas feast for your diners, remember that having a good menu description of your meals is equally important — a clear and captivating description makes it more likely for diners to order dishes that they are unfamiliar with!