Now we’ve reached December, Christmas planning has turned serious. If you’re organised, the tree will be up and most of the presents bought, so it’s time to think about the finer details. And if you’re on oven duties this year, then that means planning Christmas dinner.
Every household does it differently and there’s always the debate about whether or not Yorkies deserve a place on the Christmas plate. But what is the nation’s favourite bit of the most important meal of the year? Turns out it’s not pigs in blankets *faints in shock*.
Nope, it’s the good old roast potato that we all look forward to on Christmas Day. That’s according to Schwartz, which did the research, with pigs in blankets second, turkey third, stuffing fourth and gravy coming in at number five.
Here’s another shocker (if you’ve recovered from the pigs in blankets): sprouts came in at number six. That puts them ahead of parsnips and cranberry sauce. Surely that can’t be right?! Perhaps everyone is cooking them in heaps of butter and bacon to mask the flavour.
For seven out of ten people, Christmas dinner is their favourite meal of the year and that’s not surprising as it’s the focal point of the festive season. For cooks though, that piles on the pressure and 61 per cent of those who make the meal said they felt stressed about trying to get it perfect.
There’s always the difficult decision about keeping it classic or going a little off-piste in the kitchen. Three in ten Christmas Day chefs told Schwartz they add herbs and spices into their traditional recipes to give them a twist, or even unexpected ingredients – we can only imagine what they could be!
Nic Yates, head of UK marketing at Schwartz, said: “It’s great to see that along with the traditional favourites we all look forward to, cooks across the nation are also using quick tricks and hacks to add extra flavours and aromas, making good food, into great food.
“A simple sprinkle of parsley onto your carrots, nutmeg on sprouts or chilli in your mince pies can make your Christmas dinner even more memorable.”
It seems unlikely to us that nutmeg is a strong enough flavour to make sprouts palatable, but each to their own. And as for putting chilli in your mince pies – has the world gone mad? But yes, we can cope with parsley in the carrots.
While turkey is of course traditionally the centrepiece of the meal, one in six said they only have it because they feel they should, with some even saying they don’t really like it. The same number opted for something else instead.
There are so many things that feel festive that aren’t turkey, we say go for chicken, salmon or even a nice veggie option if you’re not a fan. There’s really no need to chew through a dry bird if it’s not really your cup of tea.
It’s not a surprise that the survey found more people like being a guest than cooking the Christmas dinner. Sitting back and enjoying a buck’s fizz does does sound more appealing than slaving over a hot stove.