Deliveroo’s favourite holiday food
The CRD team takes a break from Content/Research/Design and shares their thoughts on Christmas/Roasts/Dinners.
The festive season is upon us! While we love a good meal delivered, this is the time of year most of us venture home for traditional home-cooked feasts. And one of the many great things about working in a diverse team is finding out about other people’s traditions. Here are just a few of the CRD members’ holiday plans.
Please note, this blog is best enjoyed while wearing a Christmas jumper and, if possible, sitting in front of a roaring fire.
Scotland: Celebrating Hogmanay
Stephen Macvean, Product Designer
Historically, the biggest celebration for families around the holiday season in Scotland has been on Hogmanay (the Scots language word for the last day of the year). This is largely down to the church, who effectively banned the celebration of Christmas for centuries. As the church’s influence of Scottish society has waned in recent years, Santa has emerged to assert himself more and more. Yet, still, Hogmanay is an event full of tradition in modern day Scotland.
On Hogmanay it’s common place for parties to be held in homes and for all generations to be involved. Sheltering people from the cold and rain, these parties play host to friends, family, music, dancing, singing, hearty food and whisky, and they often extend into the daylight hours of New Year’s Day. Massive street parties are also held across Scotland for those brave enough to risk the weather.
One of the most notable Hogmanay traditions is ‘first footing’. This is the act of being the first person to enter the home of a household on New Year’s Day. The first footer will bring with them gifts in the form of silver, coal or whisky, which symbolise various forms of good fortune for the household they have entered. Whisky is becoming a common theme here, unsurprisingly. Slàinte!
Later in the day, families get together to warm themselves up with home cooked steak pie and swap New Year’s Day gifts. Crunching through crispy pastry into tender beef soaked in a rich ale gravy, with potatoes and carrots on the side is a perfect start to the new year in my opinion!
U.K.: Veggie Christmas
Rhiannon Jones, UX Content Writer
My mum and dad are veggies, and so was I, until I was about 18. They say ‘veggie’ — but they’ll happily tuck into a lovely piece of fish from the chippie, or a wine gum, or potatoes liberally roasted in animal fat. The general rule of thumb is; if the food you’re cooking looks like it once had feathers/fur/hide then, sorry Delia, but they’re just not going to eat it.
This has affected me and my siblings in two ways. For my sister, it’s made her a lifelong veggie. For my brother, it’s given him a fascination with eating the most carnivorous and often exotic meats possible — think kangaroo burgers, venison, boar, etc. It’s given me a love of cooking great vegetarian food, as well as an appreciation for meat, although, I’m not as bloodthirsty as my bro. I’m more a fan of frozen Turkey Dinosaurs than actual turkey.
So when Christmas rolls around, getting dinner ready can be a bit of a stress. My mum, former aerobics instructor, wants something light and vegetabley and everyone else wants lashings of carbs dripping in butter. My brother wants meat, and I mainly just want to be passed the Celebrations.
Enter: the Nut Roast. A timeless vegetarian classic. It’s kind of a savoury yule log, filled with handfuls of cashews, almonds, walnuts and brazils. The nuts are blitzed in a food processor (ours is a sturdy 90s model in classic magnolia-greige) along with grated carrot, onions, shallots, mushrooms, and anything else left in the veg aisle on Christmas Eve. It’s topped with cheese and folded into a loaf tin to crisp up in the oven.
I tend to serve it with a giant pile of roast potatoes, honeyed carrots and an apple slaw, for a bit of zing. Sprouts are sea salted and roasted, without a drop of sogginess.
I’m usually plating up when I turn around to see my brother frying himself a steak the size of Santa’s beard. I suppose you can never please everyone!
South Africa: Christmas BBQ
Francesca Menegaldo, User Researcher
South Africa (SA) is a multi-ethnic society, sometimes referred to as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ due to the wide variety of cultures and languages — there are 11 official languages!. Each group will have their own celebrations and traditions that will be very different to my experiences.
Some people have a very traditional Christmas dinner — this tradition exists due to SA’s history with the UK. However, Christmas in SA falls in the middle of summer and my family have always felt that it’s far too hot to be eating a full roast dinner.
We usually have a barbecue instead, also known as a ‘braai’. We’ll cook a range of different things on the braai including steak, peri-peri chicken and a type of sausage called ‘boerewors’. Boerewors means ‘farmer’s sausage’ and is typically made of beef and pork mixed with plenty of spices (including allspice, cloves, nutmeg and coriander). It sounds weird but it really is delicious and is always my favourite part of any braai. Alongside the meat we’ll serve a range of salads and some bread rolls.
We sit outside while eating to enjoy the sunshine and we’ll drink white wine with ice (to keep it cold!). After lunch we’ll rest for a while before going for a swim or a walk on the beach.
Norway: Celebrating Jul
Christine Røde, Senior Product Designer
Norwegians take jul (Christmas) very seriously, spending the entire month of December working up to the big event. From lighting candles for each Sunday in Advent, celebrating Santa Lucia with saffron buns and light ceremonies on the 13th, hosting rice porridge eating competitions (leaving some outside for the local farm nisse), and finally decorating the tree on lillejulaften (“Little Christmas Eve“ aka the 23rd), each marker is accompanied with songs, candlelight, and most importantly food to get us through the darkest days of the year.
The main celebration is on Christmas Eve on the 24th, when families gather to eat, drink, and exchange gifts. What you eat is quite regional; in the eastern lands, slow-roasted ribbe — literally “ribs”, but more like the entire side of a pig than anything resembling BBQ — is most common, presented as fatty slabs with thick, diced crackling. Pinnekjøtt reigns on the west coast and the north, where cured lamb ribs, historically dried and salted for preservation, are steamed until the flaky meat is falling off the bone.
Growing up in the east near Oslo, I didn’t try pinnekjøtt until I was in my teens, but now prefer it to ribbe — our family Christmas dinners have evolved into an amalgamation of all regional traditions, including the addition of lutefisk (an infamous lye-preserved fish with an awful smell but fairly inoffensive taste) as a starter. Truly a sign we’re all grown up!
Serve it all up with boiled potatoes, mashed swede, fermented cabbage, meatballs, sausages, and gravy, and wash it down with aquavit to help you digest the massive amounts of fat and carbs. Dinner is followed by a nap or coffee break — where the adults take great pleasure in drinking as slowly as possible while kids fidget with impatience — until the table moves around the tree to open presents. That’s usually when the doorbell rings, and everyone is shocked to find Santa is at the door with even more presents!
Lastly, everyone regroups around the table for the final dessert: creamy rice pudding with cherry jam sauce. An almond is hidden in the pot before serving. Everyone carefully eats their porridge as to not accidentally chew the almond, keeping one eye out for anyone else looking suspiciously pleased with themselves. Whoever can produce a whole almond at the end is promised luck and prosperity in the new year and – most importantly — is the winner of the marzipan pig!
U.K.: Eating out on Christmas Day
Melissa Safran, User Researcher
Growing up, my mum thought it was really important for us to spend Christmas Day with both of our parents, despite them being divorced. This led to a series of awkward Christmases at my mum’s house, filled with passive-aggressive snipes about the overcooked turkey and eye-rolls over the burnt tablecloth next to the flaming Christmas pudding. Until, one year when someone came up with the ingenious solution of going out for Christmas dinner, so off we went, to our second home, the pub.
Going out for Christmas lunch works for us for many reasons: there’s no arguing over the washing up, fussy eaters can order their own individual version of Christmas lunch and they have excellent Christmas cracker prizes. Everybody’s happy.
The only thing the pub version of Christmas dinner is missing is the traditional Christmas pudding. The Christmas pudding for those yet to experience one is a dense, boiled dessert, filled with lots of treacle and dried fruit. It’s then doused in brandy and set on fire. As well as the excitement of setting your dessert on fire, there is the added fun of potentially finding a hidden silver coin in your serving. The person that finds the silver coin is guaranteed good fortunes in the new year!
Eating out for Christmas dinner has many advantages, but without a serving of Christmas pudding, there’s no way of knowing who will be getting good fortunes, which is a bit of a shame… I just always assume it’s going to be me.
Happy holidays from the CRD team at Deliveroo!
What are your food traditions? Share them with us in the comments!