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Christmas dinners from around the world

Updated: Dec 20, 2013 11:53 AM
© iStockphoto.com / Jack Puccio © iStockphoto.com / Jack Puccio
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By Caitlin Boyle
From Ideas That Spark 

While Santa is busy speeding around the globe in his sleigh, millions of families will gather around the table and feast on delicious Christmas dinners. I wanted to see what holiday foods people from all over the world choose to feast on to find some global inspiration for my family's holiday meal. Here are some delicious traditions I came across:

American Christmas dinners looks a lot like our Thanksgiving; a Christmas ham or roasted turkey is complemented by mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, cranberries, and roasted veggies. And, of course, don't forget dessert! American's love of gingerbread means dessert tables are comprised of decorated cookies, as well as all sorts of pies (pecan, pumpkin and apple reigning supreme).

Down under, Australians have a sunny Christmas lunch. To celebrate Santa amongst the warm summer temperatures, Aussies have a BBQ with grilled chicken, prawns, lobster or crayfish, roasted veggies and chilled ham.

Christians and Catholics in India celebrate Christmas with ethnic food, such as biryani with chicken or lamb and spicy curries.

European traditions vary greatly from country to country. On Christmas Eve, Germans keep dinner simple -- the entrée is usually sausages. The big celebration is on Christmas Day; Germans dine on roast goose or duck, potatoes and cabbage. The Swedes serve a three-course smorgasbord. The first consists of fish, pickled herring and boiled potatoes; the second of cold cuts of meats (including Christmas ham) and cheeses; the third course consists of meatballs and fried sausage.

In Portugal, families celebrate on Christmas Eve and dine on traditional dry, salted codfish, boiled cabbage, boiled eggs and traditional fried desserts. Italians feast on Christmas Eve before attending Holy Mass; Italians enjoy pasta, stuffed poultry, fried eel, roasted lamb or fish. Dessert usually includes panettone, a sweet dessert bread.

The English version of Christmas dinner is much like ours. The Brits love turkey with gravy and stuffing, potatoes and roasted vegetables. Christmas pudding is served as dessert.

And last, but not least, Christmas dinner in Mexico is a spicy affair. It may include tamales, pozole (a meat-based stew), dry, salted codfish, and Buena Noche salad, a medley that varies by household. Recalentado (which translates to "reheating") is a popular Christmas Day activity when the family and friends reconvene to eat leftovers from the night before. Sounds delicious!

Caitlin Boyle is blogger, motivational speaker and author of the book Healthy Tipping Point: A Powerful Program for a Stronger, Happier You. She helps her husband run a holistic health clinic in Charlotte, N.C.

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