Christmas food

Christmas is a time when families and friends meet over dinner. And turkey is a common Christmas food in the UK during these get togethers on 25th December and Boxing day. Turkey meat is extremely popular at Christmas time. But one wonders as to when and how did this poultry become so famous to be integrated into Christmas dinners.

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History of turkey as Christmas food

The perfect and the most popular meat during Christmas dinner is turkey. It is the common Christmas food. But it was not so 500 years back. At that time, people in the UK used to consume other larger birds such as geese, or boars, chicken and cows for the festive dinners at Christmas time.

Christmas food
Turkey at Christmas (Source: Pinterest)

It was in 1526 when the Yorkshireman, William Stickland traded turkeys from American traders and these large birds reached the British shores. The local farmers started selling it more during festive season since it helped them to keep their hens and cows alive longer for eggs and milk. Hence its popularity started increasing in the 16th century.

King Henry VIII and turkey

But the popularity of turkey for Christmas soared when King Henry VIII switched his usual Christmas goose for this Norfolk Black Bird. And after that, it soon became part of Christmas of most households in the UK. It saw a fast growth in the 17th century but its availability was still an issue at that time.

Christmas food
King Henry VIII, former king of England (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica)

It was only in the 20th century that it became easily available for an average household in the UK. Its value rose and it became a food of relative luxury. It was a special treat exclusively for the season of Christmas. After 1950s, the hurdle to its access was overcome and one could easily purchase it. Before this, people were also eating pheasants, peacocks, and roast swans for Christmas dinners.

Now, around 10 million turkeys are consumed in the UK every Christmas. The other meats eaten on 25th December include beef, ham, chicken, goose and pork. But these form a smaller proportion of Christmas dinners.

Plant based meats at Christmas

Increasingly, emphasis is on consuming plant based foods for human, animal and planet health reasons. There is a rising movement to promote veganism. This implies eating only plant foods and no animal products like eggs, meet or milk. There are many researchers and environmentalists who are campaigning and urging people to go vegan. But at Christmas, this could be tricky.

By tradition, people are used to having animal meats at Christmas dinners. To swap these for meat substitutes might need a lot of coaxing. Nonetheless, this is not impossible.

Christmas food
Crispy baked marinated tempeh as turkey meat substitute of plant origin (Source: Running to the kitchen)

Read here: Easy Way To Make The Best Roast Turkey

The vegan turkey meat alternatives include Gardein Plant-Based Turk’y Roast that has kale, cranberries, and brown rice in it, tofu in baked form, tofurky roast and wild rice stuffing, Field Roast Sage & Garlic Celebration Roast, Tofurky Oven-Roasted Turkey Slices, and marinated tempeh.

Try the above and prevent animal cruelty. It will also boost your health and save the planet and climate.