Wouldn’t it be nice to do something a little different for Christmas dinner this year? One approach is to draw on traditions from days gone by. The Victorian era provides plenty of ideas that will add something extra to those dinners and certainly be a welcome change for everyone. Here are some ideas to keep in mind.
During the Victorian age, refrigeration was not possible. That meant many people chose whatever was found in the local area and used it to come up with at least two entrees for what was considered one of the most important celebrations of the year. This usually meant some type of ham on the table, along with a goose, turkey, or even duck. By having more than one entrée, it was possible to please just about every guest.
The stuffing and dressing debate rages to this day. Which is appropriate? In fact, there’s no reason why both can’t be served. Stuffing can be made with all sorts of breads and seafood, mixed with spices and other elements, then placed in whatever fowl is prepared for the meal. Dressing is typically baked as a side dish and makes use of corn bread that is baked and crumbled in the days before the feast. Like stuffing, it’s flavored with vegetables, meat drippings, spices, and whatever is found locally.
Winter vegetables were in keeping with the frugal and practical nature of Victorian living. Mashed potatoes served with gravy made with meat drippings was a must.
In some areas, creating a dish known as Colcannon was popular. Essentially a combination of potatoes and greens, it’s easy to prepare. Boil the potatoes while cooking the greens in a separate pot. After mashing the potatoes, drain the greens and squeeze the excess liquid from them. Chop finely and mix in with the potatoes. Make sure to add salt, pepper, and a little butter while blending. Butter a mold and pack the mixture tightly, then place it back in a warm oven for ten minutes. The result will be a festive and unexpected touch to the dinner table.
No Victorian dinner is complete without sweets for dessert. Plum pudding was traditional on many Victorian tables. Mince pies were also among the top choices. Gingerbread cookies were definitely on hand for those who wanted something a little lighter. Don’t overlook the possibility of serving a sweet potato pudding as part of the menu.
Adding a Victorian touch to the dinner is not as hard as some may think. In fact, the practical nature of the dinner makes it all the easier. Try these tips and there’s a good chance the family will have a new tradition.