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December article

Divendres, 29 de Novembre del 2019

'Crazy Christmas traditions from around the world' by E. Hearle

Christmas may have you licking your lips at the thought of a roast dinner with all the trimmings, but not everyone around the world tucks into a turkey, cranberry sauce and pigs in blankets. Here are some of the more unusual - and somewhat shocking - Christmas foods from across the globe.

Fried Caterpillars: South Africa
In South Africa, it's the creepy crawlies that local children look forward to at Christmas time. Fried caterpillars may seem like one of the weirdest Christmas traditions around the world, but these caterpillars aren't just the run-of-the-mill variety you find in the garden. The Pine Tree Emperor Moth, or Christmas caterpillar, is covered in very festive colours - giving all who swallow one a little extra luck in the coming year.

Roasted sheep head: Norway
Also known as Smalahove, this is quite a normal centrepiece for a Nordic Sunday dinner, especially right before Christmas. The head is soaked and then dried and salted. Yes a whole sheep’s head is plonked on a plate ready to be dished up and enjoyed - let’s hope there aren't any vegetarians (or worse vegans!) present at these family gatherings.

KFC in Japan
Kentucky Fried Chicken in itself obviously isn’t that weird, but it’s an odd one for Christmas day. In Japan they go crazy over KFC and a staggering 3.6 million Japanese families feast on KFC every Christmas. This unusual tradition came about because Japan hadn’t previously celebrated the festive period with a particular meal. Some clever marketing allowed KFC to come in and fill the Christmas tradition void.

‘Herring in a fur coat’, Russia
Christmas in Russia means one thing: dressed herring (or translated literally from Russian, ‘herring under fur’) made from the pungent fish and boiled vegetables. It became popular in the 1970s in the USSR when it was difficult to get food but herring and vegetables were still affordable. Only for strong British stomachs, herring fish is piled inside this savoury layered cake, along with potatoes, onion and of course, Russia ́s favourite vegetable, the humble beetroot.

The ‘Feast of the Seven Fish’: Italy
In Southern Italy and Italian-American regions, Christmas Eve is associated with the ‘Feast of the Seven Fish’. A typical seafood feast includes anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, dried salt cod, squid and mussels. This is served with pasta, vegetables, fried kale patties and homemade wine. After so much savoury goodness, it’s finished off (if you are still hungry at this point!) with classic Italian desserts - think panna cotta or tiramisu.

Whale skin: Greenland
There are plenty of local delicacies to be had at Christmas in Greenland including ‘kiviak’, raw flesh of auks, an arctic bird and ‘mattak’, whale skin with a strip of blubber - yes whale fat - inside. If there was ever a reason to go to Greenland for Christmas this may not be it, but it is also tradition for men to serve food to women on Christmas night, even stirring their meals for them. Come on then ladies ...!

What about in the UK though? 
Traditional foods eaten may include roast turkey, stuffing - given the name as pork meat, herbs and breadcrumbs are stuffed inside the turkey and roasted along with the bird - and bread sauce. This must be strange for outsiders too as breadcrumbs are combined with milk, cream and butter to make a thick, warm and pretty indulgent sauce to accompany the meat along with everyone’s favourite - yorkshire puddings (think the base of a crêpe, oven roasted and filled with warm, meat gravy). These century old traditions have been given a little twist and some more creative takes are now appearing on supermarket shelves!

Brussel Sprouts tea
Hands up who wants a cup of hot, liquid Brussels sprouts?
Hated and loved by equal numbers of people in Britain, sprouts are usually exclusive to the Christmas Day lunch, served as one of the many “trimmings” to accompany the big, juicy, roast turkey. Now as far-fetched as it may sound, Sainsburys supermarkets are now selling them as a flavoured tea. The retailers have also launched a "pigs in blankets" flavour - yes sausage and bacon flavoured hot water! You’d never know tea is our national drink!

Christmas tree flavoured crisps
Christmas trees are usually what people decorate in the weeks leading up to Christmas and put presents below. However, for those people who have ever looked at a pine tree and thought, "my word, that looks delicious”, Iceland supermarkets have you covered - you can now both decorate and enjoy the taste of a christmas tree. Whatever next?!

Christmas lunch pizza
Asda supermarket is selling a pizza that comes topped with all the traditional trimmings, including turkey, two cheeses, pigs in blankets, and sage, stuffing balls. It also has its own sachet of cranberry sauce ready for drizzling once the pizza is out of the oven.

This could be the perfect (lazy!) festive alternative to the full roast dinner or the answer to those seeking something a little unusual for Christmas this year!

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