Apart from some gender role reversals (Dad reigns supreme in the kitchen at this time of year in our house), Christmas dinner is a very traditional affair for my family.
The apron goes on at 10 am and he’s locked in there for a five hour meat-heavy cooking extravaganza. As the day wears on, things start to heat up, both literally and metaphorically; you take your life in your hands going in to the kitchen to refresh your drink, let alone suggesting making a nut roast. If it’s your first Christmas as a vegan and any of this sounds familiar you may be wondering how to deal with things without being written out of the will.
Well, probably the best way is to plan ahead. Work out what will be off limits to you and think about how you can make a vegan version. I was vegetarian before I was vegan so fortunately in my house we’ve long had an understanding that the roast potatoes get cooked in olive oil and not goose fat. This year I’ll be taking it one step further by annexing some of the mash before the crème fresh goes so I can make my own with margarine and soy milk. I’ll also have prepared a nut roast and gravy the day before so I can reheat them right before sitting down. This keeps me out of the kitchen and out of my Dad’s way and minimises the stress of having to prepare different meals at the same time. As to side dishes etc., I’ve asked that butter, cream etc. can be put on the table instead of directly on the food so everyone can help themselves (or not in my case). As always, I find the key is to be prepared and discuss it in advance.
To be honest, this year I’m actually quite grateful for the fact that I can’t pig out on all the desserts, chocolates and sweets on offer. However, for me, one of the keys to surviving this time of year (and being vegan in general) is making sure I don’t feel like I’m missing out. Therefore, I’ve laid on some vegan chocolate and have been busy baking cakes and mince pies (you can make your own butter-free pastry or look out for ready-made versions in the shops) so I always have a few treats to choose from.
As always, a large helping of patience, a dollop of humour and the ability to find the positives (no Quality Street = no calories) is the most important ingredient for a happy Christmas.