By Charlie Clapp
Christmas is once again upon us and carnivores all over the world will rejoice and join together to gorge on juicy meat and suet puddings. “Nom nom nom” they say, with fat dripping down their chins. I wonder if Jesus ate meat? He definitely didn’t eat pork – so no ham or pigs in blankets for him then. How about turkey? Could you even get turkey in Jerusalem in those days? Perhaps there was one in the stable where he was born, going “gobble gobble gobble” and disturbing the precious newborn from his sleep. Maybe it had to go, hence starting a very long-standing tradition of eating them at Christmas.
So what do vegetarians eat on Christmas day? Nut roast seems to be the most popular choice, although I’m not sure if ‘popular’ and ‘choice’ are the right words – perhaps ‘only’ and ‘option’ might be better suited. But don’t panic – I’m here with exciting ideas to help you through the day and make Christmas dinner more exciting, whether you’re making it for yourself or catering for someone who doesn’t eat meat.
It’s easy to make the menu seasonal. Let’s start with the weather – it’s cold, there might be a possibility of snow but more probably rain, the wind has blown the leaves from the trees and it gets dark early. The best thing for everyone to do is put on their woolly jumpers and snuggle in to the sofa closest to the fire, drink some red wine, sing some carols and, of course, nibble on tasty delights that make winter seem like the best season of the year.
What tasty nibbles might these be? Well why don’t you start with a whole baked Camembert – place on a board and serve with crudités and toast to dip into the liquid gold that waits beneath the skin. Then once you’ve all had your fill and you’re bored of picking out bits of molten cheese from your woolly jumper, get sophisticated with some bruschetta topped with baby artichokes and mint or a lemony mushroom pâté.
When it’s dinner time, roll yourself from the sofa (remembering to bring your drink) and spare a though for the drooling carnivores in the house next door, eating the turkey that Jesus probably didn’t eat while you all tuck in to a feast of cauliflower and broccoli cheese, squash rotolo and garlicky or lemony greens. I doubt Jesus ate these either, but once they see what they’re about to eat, you won’t hear a single carnivore complain.
Then on to pudding, and one for everyone – Jamie’s mum’s gorgeous chocolate pudding. No suet in sight, just a lot of very smiley faces ready to take themselves back to the sofa nearest the fire and work it all off with a good game of Scrabble. The perfect ending to a perfect meal. Who needs turkey?