Christmas Dinner may be the most important meal of the entire year. A feast of plenty in the face of winter's desolation, tastes and traditions passed down from previous generations now shared out to a circle of friends and family: by these means we defy death and destiny and focus instead on the coming of the Light. Whether that means the new Light of the reborn Sun, or the Light of Christ being born as at this time of a pure Virgin, or just the light that dawns a few minutes earlier each day now that the solstice is past, we are united across the cultural and credal divisions by our midwinter reliance on one another and our shared community.
When I was a student in University, I went “home” for Christmas Dinner, typically after my first disastrous visit back to Tsawwassen after leaving for University of Alberta, to the homes of friends' parents or the alternative home of the Griesbach barracks mess. But in 1982 I set up my own home, and from that time until my mental illness in 2008 I paid forward that debt by inviting others into my home for Christmas dinner. It was rarely on the 25th of December: too many friends were juggling awkward broken-family rivalries to make yet an additional claim on that contentious day. But for Celtic Christians, Christmas is not a day but a season, and it is still Christmas Dinner even on the 28th or 29th. The first couple such dinners, squeezing two or three guests into my tiny walk-up apartment in the 1911 Norwood Building of Calgary's Connaught neighbourhood, were modest affairs constrained by my lack of housewifely skill and the number of chairs I owned. My third Christmas Dinner, with six(!) guests, was a more ambitious affair. I leaned on my friends for help in preparing it, wrote recipes out for them and provided verbal instructions, all of which finally culminated (back in those pre-Internet days) in a holograph recipe-book with very limited publication. It became the principle reference for subsequent Christmas dinners, and even though a husband who despises goose, increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan dishes, and some new discoveries of great recipes gradually changed the basic menu, some favourites like Cheery Sherry have remained essential elements of this annual celebration of community.
The original hand-written recipe-book was dedicated to Tammy, Danny, Larry, Radford, Dan and Ken.
This internet copy is dedicated to Hazel, Zoe, Martin, Anne and Rachel. Thank-you for taking up this Tradition when I became unable to continue it. Thank-you for scanning the old recipes! Thank-you for carrying traditions of community and hospitality on into the wider world and the twenty-first century.
|St Andrew's Day, 25 November||Copeland's Christmas Cake||Page 4|
||Cranberry Jelly and Sauce||Page 6|
||Figgy Pudding||Page 7|
|Christmas Eve||Apple Stuffing||Page 9|
|Christmas Morning||Page 10|
||Roast Goose||Page 11|
||Brandy Sauce||Page 12|
||Baked Yams and Roast Potatoes||Page 13|
||Steamed Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts||Page 14|
||Goose Gravy||Page 15|
||Hollandaise Sauce||Page 16|
Copeland's Christmas CakePage 4 Page 5
CranberrySauce & CranberryJellyPage 6
Figgy PuddingPage 7 Page 8
Apple StuffingPage 9
Roast GoosePage 10
Cheery SherryPage 11
Brandy SaucePage 12
Baked Yams and Roast PotatoesPage 13
Steamed Broccoli and Brussels SproutsPage 14
Goose GravyPage 15
Hollandaise SaucePage 16