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Christmas Menus

A Very Bear-y Christmas - Astrid Bear
Astrid and Greg Bear's 2004 Danish Christmas Eve Meal
Astrid and Greg Bear's 2007 Christmas Dinner
Doug Essinger-Hileman's 2007 Christmas Dinner
Christmas Dinner in Australia - Helen Connor
Christmas Dinner in England - Kevin Dank
Christmas Dinner in England - John Meyn
A Cotswold Christmas Dinner - Jay Reay
A Costa Rican Christmas Dinner - Mary S.
Christmas on the Wine Dark Sea - Brian Tansey
A Canonical Christmas Dinner List - Don Seltzer
Christmas Eve - Linnea

A Very Bear-y Christmas - Astrid Bear
We had our annual repast of caviar on buttered rye toast, assorted cheeses, pickled herring, smoked oysters, sweet rolls . . . you know, just the usual.

Astrid and Greg Bear's 2004 Danish Christmas Eve Meal
We've enjoyed our 21st century variation on the traditional Danish Christmas Eve meal: pan-seared duck breast with orange coriander sauce, roasted root vegetables, red cabbage, braised endive, etc. etc.) and my husband and the Dear Children are toiling in the galley with the pots and pans.
My Danish family doesn't do Rødgrod med Fløde for Christmas, but we do Risengrod as a first course for Christmas Eve dinner. For the uninitiated, this is rice pudding, served up in individual bowls in the kitchen, then brought to the table. One bowl has a whole almond hidden deep in the risegrod. The person who finds it (somehow, almost always one of the children) gets a small gift, usually of chocolates. The guess as to the beginning of this custom is that goose is a not terribly meaty, but expensive bird. If everyone fills up on rice pudding, one doesn't have to provide as much goose!
In my house this has been refined down to its most distilled essence. No one is a big fan of the traditional recipe (rice cooked to mush in sugared milk), so I buy a container of Kosy Kup rice pudding, and generously fill egg cups with it.

Astrid and Greg Bear's 2007 Christmas Dinner
Our table [this year] will have a roast duck with Riesling sauce, red cabbage, and a persimmon pudding with pear sauce -- a quite interesting recipe, sort of a very moist cake, cooling on the counter as we speak.

Doug Essinger-Hileman's 2007 Christmas Dinner
The first dish into the oven was dessert, a fine bread pudding made from one of the Pannetone I baked off last night. The three squeakers are working on the apple cider hard sauce which will grace the top of each serving of bread pudding. Soon, while I head back to Panera's ovens to bake off my own bread for the family dinner tomorrow, the rest of the family will prepare and cook dinner itself. Elegant in its simplicity, we hope, the main course is chicken cordon bleu (free-range chicken stuffed with prosciutto di parma and gruyere cheese). Haricots Verts and sweet potato fritters will accompany the chicken. A Pennsylvania Chardonnay will also be sitting on the table.

Christmas Dinner in Australia - Helen Connor
Turkish bread and dips
BBQ boned leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary
Mum's potato salad (and probably other salads that I don't eat)
Chicken and pine-nut terrine
Lois's Brownie (Gateau Belle Helene)
Trifle (traditional, with enough sherry to sink a good-sized frigate)
Toblerone Mousse
Asti Ricadonna

Christmas Dinner in England - Kevin Dank
At Christmas we shall have turkey, served with roast and boiled potatoes, roast parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts, chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon, bread sauce and gravy. For those that can manage another mouthful after all that there will be Christmas pudding with whipped cream or brandy butter. Later on I dare say I shall force down couple of mince pies and a slice of Christmas cake with a glass or two of something.

Christmas Dinner in England - John Meyn
Christmas Dinner is generally a huge plate of various meats, mainly turkey, beef and pork with roast potatoes (peel quarter and boil in salted water until nearly cooked, drain, shake in the saucepan until they just begin to fray at the edges and break up, then finish in the roasting pan with the turkey, basting occasionally) brussels sprouts carrots, etc., etc. Followed by Christmas Pudding (made some two months earlier) and custard or brandy butter. Unfortunately, by the time that this feast is ready for the table, most of us have spoiled our appetites with chocolate, nuts, commando raids into the kitchen and so on.
I come from a large family of Aunts and Uncles so Christmas day begins early. Clouds of steam begin to emerge from the kitchen together with the occasional titbit of food and a few screams as half a dozen independently minded housewives try to 'help out' in someone else's kitchen.
My personal preference is Boxing day. All the leftover potatoes and brussels sprouts are tuned into Bubble and Squeak and served with cold meats, crusty bread, pickled onions, pickled cabbage, etc.

A Cotswold Christmas Dinner - Jay Reay
Having today prepared, cooked and eaten a bacon and leek pie with much more vegetable than meat (I included courgettes, carrots and mushrooms well dusted with rough-cut garlic, thyme, rosemary and sage in a Bechamel sauce under puff pastry), consumed with champit potato, and in a fit of such cooking this morning also prepared a steak and kidney casserole well packed with pre-roasted butternut squash, parsnip and courgettes (to share a plate with a baked potato and purple sprouting broccoli as a wholesome supper one evening in the week).
Roll on Christmas for a generous garnish of winter greens and root vegetables around the beef and venison.

A Costa Rican Christmas Dinner - Mary S.
We had a couple GREAT Christmases with store bought eggnog (Rompope) in Costa Rica, which we doctored with rum.
Only later did we find out that in that enlightened country, it comes from the store with cane spirit already in it. No wonder we were so merry. And the recipe was better than the store bought ones here, too.
'Course it took a certain amount of cheer to wash down the local holiday dish, which was cold cornmeal tamales, cooked in banana leaves which give a sort of bitter green taste, and filled with ground meat, green olives, and raisins.

Christmas on the Wine Dark Sea - Brian Tansey
Imagine Jack on violin and Stephen on cello

'On The first day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
a meal on the Wine Dark Sea
On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
two plum duffs, and a meal on the Wine Dark Sea
On the Third day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
three spotted dicks,two plum duffs and a meal on the Dark Wine Sea

(ok lets skip a few here)

On the Twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Twelve toasts and cheese,
Eleven hogs a sousing,
Ten truffled pheasants,
Nine figgy dowdies,
Eight pigs a suckling,
Seven chowdered clams,
Six stormy ports,
Five roebuck deers,
Four pickled tunnies,
Three spotted dicks,
Two plum duffs and...
A meal on the Wine Dark Sea

A Canonical Christmas Dinner List - Don Seltzer
Bruce was wondering about Christmas dinners other than the one described in TYA. While recovering from a bout with the Norwalk virus (which I never even went near a SSWC cruise ship), I put together a list of Yule feasts enjoyed by Jack and crew.

1809 or 1810, The Mauritius Command -
"Christmas, and an immense feast on the upper deck of the Boadicea, with a barrel of providently salted penguins from off the Cape serving as geese or turkeys, according to the taste and fancy of the mess, and plum-duff blazing faint under the awnings spread against the fiercer blaze of the Mauritian sun."

1811, Desolation Island -
"Christmas dinner (fresh pork and double plum duff) eaten with such merriment in relays" [as they desperately pumped the sinking Leopard]

1812, The Fortune of War
- mince pies, geese, ducks, sucking-pigs aboard Java

1813, The Yellow Admiral -
As Bruce quoted,
"while the porpoises, rather strangely jointed by the ship's butcher, were served out for Christmas dinner and declared better, far better, than roast pork."

Christmas Eve - Linnea
[On Christmas Eve] we would be replete with pickled herring to start, then meatballs, lingonberries, bruna bina, mashed rutabaga, mashed potatoes, creamed onions, gravy, rolls. How she did all that in between her 40-hour week, I don't know. Also, coffee cakes, Christmas bread made with cardamom, dates stuffed with walnuts rolled in powdered sugar, a huge bin full of Swedish cookies, two huge frosted cakes, and at least one 3 layer fudge cake, rice pudding, all from scratch of course. But mostly we had all that on Christmas Eve, especially if she was able to leave work at 4 or earlier. (Her bosses had big hearts.)