Christmas in Australia brings with it the traditional ‘English’ dinner fare, being a British Colony we follow old traditions that came over with their discovery of Australia. Why do we eat turkey? I am not a fan and having a child who doesn’t like white meats of any kind and limited red meats it’s not the first thing I think about for a Christmas day dinner., but on the same hand I have a husband who likes it for it is normally only once a year we eat it.
I have done some research to discover Turkey was introduced into Britain by a Yorkshireman William Strickland over 500 years ago who acquired 6 birds from and American Indian Trader on his travels. Once it became a popular meat it would take an average family 1 weeks wage to save up to pay for it, and based upon today’s wages approx 1.7 hours in order to purchase it.
It makes sense in Britain to cook a hot meal but in Australia, it doesn’t, it can be over 40 degree Celsius, which is 104 degree Fahrenheit and the thought of being stuck in the kitchen cooking for the family leaves me hot under the collar. I would rather be sitting with them having a cool drink rather than heating the house to a hotter temperature monitoring a roast and all the trimmings.
Also moving around to see family and spend time with partners families can also be difficult to sit and have 2 full turkey roast dinners in one day, never alone with all the side dishes and drinks to accompany it. There is also nothing worse than moving around and having to take food in hot cars and trying to enjoy it later.
What do I serve? you ask, I do sometimes serve turkey as it doesn’t just come as a complete bird, you can get a rolled breast roast, legs, wings etc and cook that. This can help limit the size of the meal and time spent in the kitchen, for me it’s also a way to have it cooked evenly and can be done in a BBQ with a hood, so the heat is outside rather than in.
As I am one of 6 kids, we all take turns to have it and we bring things, as I have the greatest distance to travel to see them and my daughter (300km or 186 miles) I can sometimes take up the red meat (beef or lamb) and get someone to cook it for the day. I like to think about trifle. We are lucky we have white and red meats, fish, shellfish either prawns and lobster as well as much more.
The alternative to Turkey are as follows, Chicken, Lamb, Beef, Pork, Goose, Glazed Ham and Seafood. The reality is it is also not about the meat it is about what accompanies it, from Potatoes to Yorkshire puddings to salads. gravy and vegetables.
What is your favourite on Christmas day ? it doesn’t have to involve cooking of any kind. I’ll post some ideas and options over the next couple of weeks.
Mind you I buy my roll already done so all I have to do it put it in the oven or BBQ, cook it and then work out how to get the string bag off it without tearing all the skin off. Perhaps I can look to researching the trick on how to do that and post that tomorrow, unless someone wants to tell me how?