Are you stressing about the upcoming Christmas meal? Trying to determine what to make? Fretting about how you are going to top last year’s meal? Well, here is a refreshing perspective I heard earlier in the week from a Barbadian: “Don’t stress about the Christmas meal, it’s really only Sunday lunch with ham”. You know, in very many ways, it is. Think about it.
What is Sunday lunch? It is a meal comprising multiple dishes such as roast meats, stews, starches, vegetables and salads. There is always dessert, even if it’s only ice cream. Sunday lunch is a gathering of family members ad friends too, including those visiting from overseas, with everyone partaking in a sumptuous meal. Within a Bajan context, all Sunday lunch dishes appear on the Christmas table – baked pork, baked chicken, baked turkey, stewed lamb, and or stewed beef, fried fish, rice and peas, sweet potato pie, macaroni pie, potato salad, coleslaw and tossed salad. With all of this, you add ham and the Christmas meal is complete. If we are to think of the Christmas meal in this way – as Sunday lunch – I really believe that we can take some of the unnecessary pressure off of ourselves.
It is not to say that there aren’t little twists to these dishes, however, they are essentially the same Sunday lunch dishes. Here are some of the twists you might encounter – the use of fresh green pigeon peas to make the rice and peas instead of the dried version used throughout the year. Mauby would be made from the bark instead of a syrup and the sweet potato pie might be topped with sliced pineapple and cherries to make it look pretty. And, there may be more colour-variety in the sliced sweet peppers added to the tossed salad. In keeping with Sunday lunch tradition, there is likely to be tea with homemade Coconut Sweet Bread, however, because it is Christmas, there will also be Christmas cake. Oh, I cannot neglect the sorrel drink.
A Guyanese Sunday lunch table also has many of its staples appearing on the Christmas table. There is bound to be fried rice or some sort of vegetable rice, maybe Spanish rice, chowmein, macaroni and cheese, baked chicken, baked pork, some type of curried meat with dhal puri, potato salad and sliced tomatoes and cucumbers along with crisp lettuce. To “beef” up the table Pepperpot would be added and then of course, baked ham and Garlic Pork. You see, don’t stress yourself. Think Sunday lunch and you’ve got the Christmas meal covered. Sorrel, black cake, mauby and ginger beer are the usual Christmas eats and drinks.
It’s really all about perspective. If you are hosting the family Christmas meal gathering this year, definitely think Sunday lunch, and breathe, particularly if it your first time hosting. There are certain stresses associated with hosting the holiday meal that you cannot escape. Unfortunately. I won’t mention them here because I don’t want to freak you out. Inbox me if you have questions.
Until next week.