By Danny Munro (he/him)
Viewed by many as the most important element of the festive proceedings, there are countless different ways to tackle the line-up of your Christmas dinner. After the main, veg, sides and stuffing and are decided upon – there are virtually no two identical plates to be found nationwide.
Though food is subjective and solely dependent on personal taste, I’ve disregarded such logic and gone to the effort of compiling the definitive ranking of Christmas dinner items. Based loosely on incredibly important polling carried out by YouGov, I’ve ranked seven culinary Christmas staples from worst to best. And no, it is not up for debate.
Right off the bat at the bottom of the pile, we have cranberry sauce. I don’t care if it’s traditional, there’s no element of a Christmas dinner that requires cranberries. Technically, I’ve never actually tried it, but I don’t think I want to. And my Instagram close friends back me up on this one – 59% of them say they don’t eat it either. I certainly won’t be indulging in the c-berry sauce this year, and I’ll judge anyone who does.
Fine. Absolutely fine. The Ed Sheeran of the vegetable world. If parsnips were a day of the week, they would be a Tuesday. I will take it; I will leave it. Purely there to make up the numbers, really.
At this point, I should probably mention that I’m vegetarian. As an unapologetic, card-carrying member of the #wokemob, there won’t be turkey on my plate this year. I don’t think I’ve had turkey in any form for over two years now, and I don’t miss it.
Saying this though, I do actually like turkey. However, if your turkey is evenly remotely dry this Christmas, you’re as well just binning the whole thing.
Yes, I have ranked brussels sprouts higher than turkey. Please, hear me out. It’s not even a vegetarian thing. I promise you that if you don’t like brussels sprouts, you’ve probably been preparing them wrong. A boiled, unseasoned sprout that your grandma made? Yes, probably bad. A little oven-roasted sprout, accompanied with a bit of paprika, maybe some Cajun action? Lovely. Genuinely.
If you don’t believe me, even Nando’s are selling them this year. ‘Macho Sprouts’ they’re calling them. Brussels sprouts will be the hot Instagram food trend of 2023, mark my words.
Another controversial ranking, admittedly, but for me, the beauty of stuffing derives from its rarity. It’s always a special occasion when stuffing is involved, so make the most of it. Go stuffing mental.
Pigs in blankets
There’s a reason why pigs in blankets are so adored. Quite simply, they’re class. Unlike turkey, pigs in blankets are something that I will miss on my plate this year. There are veggie versions, but they’re just not the same. To those who are yet to switch to the plant-based side, please make the most of your pigs in blankets this year.
They’re a Sunday roast staple, they’re (somewhat) easy to make, they’re cheap, pretty much impossible to dislike and, for me, roast potatoes are the Christmas dinner goat. While maybe not as quintessentially Christmas as the likes of sprouts or pigs in blankets, a crispy potato that is soft in the middle simply won’t be beaten. None of your Aunt Bessie’s malarkey though, they have to be homemade. And if you are doing your own roast potatoes this year, try adding some Semolina after they’ve been parboiled – it’s a game changer. And whatever you do, please don’t douse them in that cranberry nonsense.