The Origins of the Most Famous Christmas Dinner Sides & Dishes


Santa Claus is almost here, and he is going to need a lot of caloric intake this season to deliver gifts to all of the children around the world.  Let’s explore this notion of having Santa for dinner by making him a perfect, five-course Christmas meal that has traditional cultural value to our western palette. 

Christmas Dinner Sides santa dinner

For starters, Santa will need a beverage, and he has been drinking eggnog for 400 years.  Eggnog is formed from milk, eggs, and sugar and quite often spiced with rum and bourbon. This beverage has been a popular holiday beverage for the season and has warmed people on many a cold night starting back as early as the 17th century when early American settlers had access to the fresh ingredients that make this concoction. Plus, the early anglo Americans had access to cheap rum.  Nogs are a variety of beverages that early English used in social settings to incite Yuletide cheer.  

Now that Santa has wiped the froth from his beard, let’s present him with some roasted chestnuts which Santa loves because it is a subsistence food found in the wild and in abundance in the northern hemisphere where for thousands of years, people have utilized and gathered caches of for the cold winter months.  Chestnuts roasted and salted are considered of the Christmas nature due to their humble abundance as opposed to exotic fruits often presented in the winter holiday months. Chestnuts are a staple during the feast of St. Martin as a result.  

Next, let’s warm the meal up and present our distinguished guest with plum pudding which was formed by the Roman Catholic decree to create a 13-ingredient dish to represent the 12 apostles and the Christ.  This tasty treat is not necessarily made from plums, as plums in old English time were indicative of most any dried fruit including figs which make a very tasty treat.  

Christmas Dinner Origins

Alas, it is time for the main portion of the meal, and while many cook goose or turkey, the ham predates the Dickens era of bird by two centuries and is eaten at more Christmas dinners in the U.S. than any other meat.  It has roots as the traditional meat from back in Medieval English times when most could not afford the more expensive, yet still popular turkey. However, in rural America, it is often wild game that ushers in Christmas with deer, elk, and fish.

Santa is getting full and as he watches his time because he has many homes to get to in the night, we offer him one of his many favorites, pineapple upside-down cake where the exotic pineapple is sliced thin and prepared with cherries and nuts topping a moist cake.  The fruit carmelizes on the bottom allowing for a moist and citrusy flavor. In times past, it was a rare indulgence for Santa to get a fork full of this considering it would have sailed to the north from tropical latitudes.

This holiday season, treat Santa and your family and friends to one of these many classic sides and dishes. Missing the right equipment for preparing your holiday dinner? Time to hurry on over to the Alto-Hartley showroom to pick up any kitchen supplies you may need to complete the perfect meal!