Christmas foods Blogmas#20

(Traditional) Christmas food

Today, a little about traditional Christmas dishes. In the past and today. 

You might be thinking that Christmas in the modern world has become a holiday of consumption and that we only talk about food (and presents) and we really don't need another post on the subject. But look on the bright side, it is the festive table that somehow binds the members of the family together as a unit when they sit down together for the Christmas meal. It is therefore not negligible what we put on it.

Every family develops its own customs, which grow into family traditions. In this context, it might be appropriate to speak of a traditional family Christmas, since it is typical of Slovenians that not only every village, but even every house, practises its own customs on Christmas festivals. When you put up the Christmas tree and how you decorate your home is the domain of family tradition. But what do you put on the (traditional) festive table? Let's find out what Slovenian traditional Christmas food actually is, and maybe reading these lines will give you some ideas for this year's festive table. Who knows, maybe this idea will become your new family tradition.

Traditional Christmas food

Ever since Christmas was celebrated in the 4th century, housewives have put the best of what they had on the festive table. Of course, what was best then would not impress today's eaters. So if you set out this year to prepare a Christmas feast from the very beginning of tradition, let me disappoint you. What is a traditional Christmas dinner served on Christmas Eve and a Christmas feast on Christmas Day itself depends very much on the time, the place and the material situation. When I looked into traditional Christmas food, I did find commonalities, but over time, people have adapted the tradition in their own way. The food at Christmas also does not have the same deep symbolic meaning as that at Easter, so we have a lot of room to change and build on the traditions.

Tradition in the past

There are common points of traditional Christmas food, but perhaps to the disappointment of many, the Christmas dinner on the eve of Christmas itself has not traditionally been an important part of the celebrations. Its popularity has been due to the consumerist way of life and probably also to the importation of Santa Claus, the good man who visits the children on the very eve of the Holy Eve. Nevertheless, we can identify common points between these (insignificant) traditional Christmas dinners in Slovenia, even before the 'invasion' of consumerism.

People talk about the Holy Eve dinner as a tradition of sauerkraut, blood sausages/roasts/rajna sausages or some other (pork) meat that is a product of kolin or furez, and (sweet) white bread, which was hardly ever on the table during the year. In the past, housewives also served pollock and potatoes or even pollock soup. But one thing that is common to the whole of Slovenia is not to be overlooked: potica. Although its fillings vary, this yeasty treat is a must at every Christmas table. I must also mention the special Christmas bread, known by various names throughout Slovenia: poprtnik, miznik, mižnjek and župnik. This is a ritual bread richly decorated with dough decorations. In Styria in particular, fruit bread, or klojc bread, or klojcnbrod/klojcnprot as it is known locally, is traditional at Christmas.

The real feast and the essence of the celebration has traditionally been lunch on Christmas Day itself. At that time, the hostesses offered soup, a main course containing meat and a dessert. In case you are now shrugging your shoulders, saying that they ate like any ordinary day, let me remind you that we are talking about the past, when meat rarely appeared on the table. On Christmas Day, therefore, only the best meat was on the table, such as roast pork, goose, turkey or the larger fowl. And, of course, as we have already mentioned, the obligatory dessert - potica.

What are today's trends?

It is becoming increasingly fashionable to celebrate Christmas on the eve of the holiday itself, when the whole family gathers for Christmas dinner.Cabbage and sausages have also largely given way to a variety of (more) festive foods. Of course, the tradition of the housewives offering the best continues, and not only that, they offer dishes that they do not on a normal day.Somehow, Christmas dinner has become an opportunity for housewives to show off their cooking skills.Cold starters such as various cold cuts, steak tartare, cheese plates, etc., as well as hot ones, are on the table. A delicious soup, either bone broth or rich cream soup, is certainly not to be missed. For the main course, there is a selection of roasted meats (roast pork, pork shank with crispy crust, turkey, venison) or tasty fish.Of course, it is also served with fried food.The importance of the side dishes cannot be underestimated, including the potato, which is definitely the king of the hundred and one ways, as well as rice and delicious risottos, dumplings, rolls, rolls ... Of course, there is no salad.Traditionally, fresh lettuce was probably not enjoyed at Christmas, but nowadays, thanks to the offer in grocery stores, lettuce also finds its place on the Christmas festive table.Fresh carrot salad, kohlrabi salad, beetroot salad, broccoli salad or green bean salad provide a little creativity and variety.I must also mention the classic, the French salad.

The icing on the cake is the unforgettable dessert. Next to the obligatory (walnut) cake and the mountain of Christmas biscuits, housewives have unlimited possibilities to prepare a Christmas confection.If they still want to get into the festive spirit, they can choose from desserts containing cinnamon, apples and walnuts.They can't go wrong with cakes, cream puffs, tiramisu ...

So that's the end of today's post, I'm enjoying it.  But since it's blogmas we'll read again tomorrow!So don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter so you'll have posts in your gmail inbox every day of blogmas!