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To think Christmas dinner is actually a posh Sunday roast?

180 replies

wineoclockthanks · 14/12/2019 17:07

I was chatting to a friend who was stressing hugely about her Christmas dinner (for 6 people). She was saying she would have to be up at 5am at the latest to start preparing and would need to be in the kitchen for at least 5 hours etc

I know everyone does things differently but I'm not quite sure what the heck she'll be doing in there.

How much time will you (or your other half) be spending in the kitchen?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

PurpleGhost · 14/12/2019 18:36

Am I the only person that can't think of 13 veg dishes that I'd want to eat with a Christmas dinner? Even 8 types is pushing it.
I need a list to see what I'm missing out on Grin

Branleuse · 14/12/2019 18:36

I get massively stressed by doing xmas dinner. It feels more symbolic than a sunday roast. The timing has got to be right, its got to be posher.

ColleysMill · 14/12/2019 18:37

I think though if you dont cook a roast regularly (and lots of people dont which is perfectly fine!) Its the timing of bringing it altogether that can be tricky. And trying to do lots of stuff in limited oven/hob space and keep it warm when its done.

I cheat. I do get up early but on Christmas Eve - I prep everything and sometimes have been known to cook some stuff then and chill and reheat the next day. I buy some ready made stuff and cook some stuff from scratch. I 7/8 veg and cauliflower cheese plus usual trimmings.

I also have my lovely 1970s heated trolley which is brilliant for Christmas Day. I know some mners disapprove but we dish up ourselves from the kitchen buffet style. My table is too fill.of wine for food in it

SarahTancredi · 14/12/2019 18:37

Nothing worse than 'helpers

The correct term is spoony fuckers.

Yes MN people have an actual name for it. And many a venting thread Grin

Yes " bugger off out my kitchen" is the main phrase of the day in my house!

notangelinajolie · 14/12/2019 18:38

Yes, I agree. It's nothing more than Sunday dinner with a few extra bits. I spend most of my Sunday afternoons in the kitchen making Sunday dinner. I put a film on, potter about and have the odd cup of tea and a biscuit glass of wine while I'm doing it. I like the peace tbh. I don't get why everyone makes such a fuss. The only annoying thing with Christmas Dinner is people trying to help which is nice but they really aren't helping because I have it all worked out and it messes up my timings.

ColleysMill · 14/12/2019 18:39

Ha ha ha im like that - get out of my kitchen and stop interferring!!

TatianaLarina · 14/12/2019 18:39

Between Delia and Nigella I have it all ready prepared by the day before.

  • A couple weeks before I make the cranberry relish.
  • A few days before I start soaking the milk for bread sauce with an onion with cloves stuck in and a bay leaf and make the breadcrumbs for the bread sauce and the stuffing.
  • Day before I make the devils on horseback and par boil the carrots and parsnips. Put them out on trays,
  • On the day all I have to do is mix the stuffing together and stuff the turkey.
  • DH peels and par boils the potatoes.

Then shove in oven at correct time.
ShinyGiratina · 14/12/2019 18:40

I've only cooked for 5 including two children so there's been no point in getting extravagant, so yes, a nice roast dinner with a few extra trimmings. It's filling and doesn't need extra hassle with starters and puddings like Christmas pudding just need heating.

If I was catering for a large number, then things would get a bit more elaborate, but for a normal size family, it's fine starting around 11:30 after getting in from church.

handbagsatdawn33 · 14/12/2019 18:40

I've never understood why people who have dinner as usual in the evening change it to lunchtime on Sundays & Xmas day - it's just after breakfast.

Have dinner in the evening as usual - much less stress.

OhTheRoses · 14/12/2019 18:41

If it's for 6 people a large turkey isn't necessary:

We are having: part boned, stuffed duck, a very small turkey.
Pigs in blankets - sainsbury
Probs will make stuffing because I like making it
Bought gravy, bread sauce and cranberry
Sprouts - ready done, micro
Red cabbage - ready done micro
Carrots, baked in the oven
I'll do the veg first thing and blast later

Christmas pud for 3; something chocolatey and unctious for 3. Both bought.

I am cordon bleu trained. The stuff in the shops now is so good there's no need to stress at all.

Will be up at 8ish because I usually sides at 9.30 mass on Christmas morning. First thing there's a pot of tea and bixs and toast.

At 11.30ish we do smoked salmon triangles and champagne with presents so no need for a starter.

Lunch is planned for 2pm but usually happens at 3pm.

Cold meat, salad, my special roasties, pickles and anti-pasti on boxing day, with leftover pud and break into the cake. Supper is cheese, crackers and left over salady bits.

27th is the piece de resistance. The turkey and ham pie with mash and whatever veg is still in the fridge.

It's so bloody easy, it's like rolling off a log.

Celebelly · 14/12/2019 18:42

@tillytrotter1 Well I expect my husband to do his share of chopping veg and other stuff! If we are hosting, we are hosting together. That doesn't mean he gets to sit on his arse while I do it all Grin

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER · 14/12/2019 18:42

Yes, just a Sunday roast with a few extras and crackers.

I don't know why some people make such a thing of it - unless they give themselves extra stress by doing more than one roast, umpteen different veg, roast, boiled and mashed potatoes, FGS, plus Yorkshire puds on top.

And 3 different puddings. Only (all too often) to chuck a load of it in the bin a day or two later.

All we ever have is no starter (canapés beforehand) turkey, loads of pigs in blankets, stuffing, roast spuds and parsnips, carrots and sprouts, plenty of proper turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, and afterwards Christmas pud with brandy butter or cream, and a cheeseboard/fruit.
None of it is ever wasted.

I make the P in B and stuffing beforehand and freeze.

I suspect that the reason some people find it such a major operation is not just because they do so many dishes, but because they never - or hardly ever - make a Sunday roast anyway. So they find the timings and all the last minute stuff difficult to manage.

notangelinajolie · 14/12/2019 18:43

I tried the Christmas Eve peeling/prepping thing last year and it spoiled Christmas Eve for me. I don't want to be in the kitchen on Christmas Eve ever again. We are going back to all on the day this year.

YouTheCat · 14/12/2019 18:44

I always prep on Christmas Eve. I'll get the meat ready to go in the oven before I go out for a couple of hours to visit my ds on Christmas Day. Then it's meat in and back in to cook veg at various intervals. Once things get busy, in the last 30 minutes, I start downing sherry. Once I get to the singing stage the food is almost ready. Grin

It isn't that tricky.

SilverySurfer · 14/12/2019 18:46

You're right, except it's the best one of the year. I've ordered a free range capon chicken will make pigs in blankets and stuffing, some extra veg, apart from that it's like a Sunday lunch. Second only to Boxing Day with all the leftovers, salad and bubble and squeak.

BarbedBloom · 14/12/2019 18:47

I make dessert on christmas eve and prep veg the night before. We do have more bits for Christmas though, two types of stuffing, cauliflower cheese etc to try and please everyone. The venison will take two hours, but I imagine it won't take too much longer than normal due to prepping the day before.

Having said that, some people are feeding vast amounts or are having starters etc so I can see why that may involve a lot of prep. I have a veggie coming and am making them a wreath type thing with spinach and pine nuts, so that will take a while.

BarbedBloom · 14/12/2019 18:48

Oh and we always have Yorkshire puddings as they are my favourite - chef privilege

TatianaLarina · 14/12/2019 18:50

I tried the Christmas Eve peeling/prepping thing last year and it spoiled Christmas Eve for me. I don't want to be in the kitchen on Christmas Eve ever again. We are going back to all on the day this year.

So you spoil Christmas Day instead?

If you’re organised all you have to do is peel carrots and parsnips on Christmas Eve. I make devils on horseback because I like them. The whole thing takes 30 mins max.

Parker231 · 14/12/2019 18:51

Christmas lunch is always at 1pm at our house. DH is great at preparing everything and we all help out so that no one is stuck in the kitchen. We’ve a houseful staying for the week but no stress. We buy as much as we can which is either part or ready prepared ie vegetables and pudding.

TeacupDrama · 14/12/2019 18:51

some people just cook too much for the number of people
I do roast and stuffed turkey, roast potatoes and parsnips, braised spicy red cabbage and sprouts, gravy, pigs in blankets cranberry sauce
followed by Christmas pudding with custard and brandy butter, nice icecream with caramel sauce for pudding haters!!
I make the stuffing day before as well as red cabbage and cranberry sauce and brandy butter
3.5 hours before switch oven on
3 hours before dinner put stuffing in turkey and place in oven then lay table arrange cutlery, glasses sauces and decorations etc white wine / shloer type drinks to chill
2 hours sit down for an hour with nice coffee

1 hour before when turkey almost ready I put roast potatoes, parsnips and pigs in blankets in oven; red wine open to breathe
1/2 hour before remove turkey from oven to rest;while turkey resting put cabbage back in oven to warm through and then put pudding onto steam
15 minutes before , put sprouts on and make gravy plates to warm
10 minutes carve turkey if not been carved at table
5 mins put veg in serving dishes, gravy in jug etc
0 minutes sit down and eat

later make custard serve pudding (? make coffee)

later still someone else washes up and tidies

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER · 14/12/2019 18:53

Oh, yes, and having it later - we have ours around 5 - is infinitely more civilised and makes for a much more relaxed day for whoever's cooking. I can't imagine being ready for it at 1pm. Even when we had it earlier it wasn't until around 3.

IIRC we changed to 5 after one memorable year when I'd had so much Buck's Fizz, I completely forgot about even parboiling the spuds, let alone putting them in the oven, so it was more like 4.30 before it was all on the table. . And everyone was that much more ready for it.
Later gives plenty of time for a walk in daylight, too.

TatianaLarina · 14/12/2019 18:54

Red cabbage can be done in a one pot weeks in advance and frozen. For some reason it freezes fine.

ComeOnGordon · 14/12/2019 18:56

When the kids were little my MIL would come to us on Xmas eve with a goose that she’d roasted already so it just needed heating up but somehow she was still in the kitchen (and made my FIL help too) at 10am for a 1pm lunch for 4 adults & 3 small kids. I wanted different veg (which weren’t in her meal) so said I’d make themself - just some simple broccoli and carrots and from 11.30 she asked me when I was starting with them Shock. It drove me crazy. Since she’s now my ex MIL the kids and I have an Italian buffet and it’s all very relaxed

wanderings · 14/12/2019 18:56

With all the self-inflicted stress of Christmas, sometimes I wonder if Scrooge was right.

AuntieMarys · 14/12/2019 18:56

That's why I go out. Reminds me of my mother playing the martyr while my dad went to the pub on Xmas day.

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