It’s Christmas Eve and I just finished making two Texas Sheet Cakes* to take to dinner at our friends’ house tonight. We will, of course, be eating BBQ. Because we eat BBQ for every special occasion in Texas. I can’t even recall a church dinner that didn’t feature brisket. Not that I’m complaining. It beats the boiled ham and canned corn and store-bought rolls that we ate at all the ward dinners we’ve been to in other states. Brisket is a lovely, lovely thing. I’m very looking forward to tonight.
But I digress.
We are not a Big-Meal-on-Christmas-Eve family. In my family we had our fancy meal on Christmas Day. Mister grew up in a Christmas Eve family and it’s always worked out well. We’d have a big Christmas Eve shindig with his relatives and then a big meal with my family the next day.
For many years we had a replay of Thanksgiving at Christmas with turkey and ham and all that stuff. But a few years ago we collectively decided that we aren’t huge fans of turkey and ham. We would much rather eat our family’s favorite meal: wienerschnitzel.
No. Not hot dogs.
Wien (pronounced “veen”) is the proper German way to say Vienna. Wiener means something from Vienna like, say, a sausage. Wienerschinitzel is a very thin breaded pork or veal cutlet, and was perfected in Vienna. Usually you squeeze a lemon on top. With it we eat spaetzle (pronounced “shpets-leh”), which are a cross between noodles and dumplings. You know in the Sound of Music when they sing about schnitzel with noodles? This is what they’re singing about. I love them enough to sing about them too.
My grandmother was from Vienna and she taught my mother how to make schnitzel. And my mother taught me. So now I get the pleasure of harassing the butcher to cut my pork exactly just so. With a middle name like Hildegard I have no choice but to be a schnitzel maker.
We also will have some sort of really superb salad or side dish and that’s it. We aren’t one of those families that goes crazy with hors d’oeuvres or accompaniments like, oh I don’t know, Mister’s family. We make the few things we love and that’s that.
My family also uses the best china and silver. Mister’s does paper plates and cups. Cute plates and cups, but still not exactly “special meal” ware.
For dessert I’ll do an apple pie and maybe a chocolate pie. I normally have lots of candy in my stocking and I’d really rather eat that. But I am a good wife. And good wives make pie for their husbands who love it. And my apple pie is superb so who am I to deny it to everyone?
What does your family do for the big meal? Are you busy cooking right now or are you taking a break til tomorrow night? Lurkers, let’s hear from you too!
Merry Christmas everyone! Happy Eating!
*I may have put the cakes out to cool on the back porch and a bird may have walked across one. And I may have covered the tracks up with extra pecans. Or maybe not. I’ll never admit to anything.
14 thoughts on “What are You Eating for Christmas Dinner?”
Just minutes ago I finished making a very intricate and time-consuming dessert for tomorrow nights festivities. It is a peppermint chocolate trifle, and since it requires two ice baths and over 3 hours of mixing, whisking and sifting I only make it once a year. But, it is super divine, so all the hassle is worth it.
Just reading about your weinerschnitzel makes my mouth water. So delish!
Merry Christmas my dear!
I refuse to cook on Christmas…it’s my present to myself. Anytime we’ve had a big meal on Christmas, I spend the whole day in the kitchen and that’s not my idea of fun! Shane always wants a “Christmas meal”…probably because that was lacking growing up. So we compromise and do it on Christmas Eve afternoon. Then Christmas Eve and Christmas are free! We just pick at whatever is around on Christmas. I do make a breakfast casserole that we had every Christmas growing up, so that’s my one thing! Merry Christmas!
Tonight, I made our traditional Christmas Eve meal. Roast chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts. We use Grandma’s china she handed down to me and drink bubbly and light candles. I like being in the kitchen, so I like doing a big to-do on the holidays. I didn’t grow up with meals like that, so maybe that us why I like doing them. Tomorrow night we are going to my parents house and my mom is making soups. Low-key. Should be nice.
Is your middle name really Hildegard? It can’t be, right?
Ham for Christmas Eve and the inlaws are making lamb shanks for Christmas dinner. But I made my favorites for lunch….barefoot contessa onion dip, spinach artichoke dip, salami, crackers and nuts and butternut squash soup. Oh I’m so full. But looking forward to stuffing in more tomorrow, homemade waffles and bacon!
We had a shepards meal with our family-away-from-family Christmas Eve. We had roasted chicken, potatoes, bread, cheese, fruits, etc. We sat on the floor, “shepard style “. It was something different, and fun! This morning we had our traditional homemade cinnamon rolls with bacon and eggs. Mmmmmm…… My hubby and 12 year old son have committed to making dinner tonight. They forgot to go to the store to buy ingredients, so they’ll be “winging it”. I have no doubt that it will be yummy….I also have no doubt that I will be cleaning up the kitchen mess that ensues.
Goode company BBQ take out last night, cheese fondue with all the fixins to dip in it for dinner. I have tons of stuff to make chocolate fondue but we were all too full! Tomorrow night! Tried to keep it simple this year. Loved your previous post btw. I have tried to do the same- simplify. It really takes off such burdens not to expect so much from yourself or worry about ruining things for children. It has been a bit stressful, just because shopping for this many people is, in fact, stressful, of, and the tiny wee little fact that Jordan leaves Wed and I will be winging it alone and we are moving across the country. That has added just a bit of stress! Overall very nice though. Merry Christmas friend!!
Hi Jennie ,
You asked a Question on my Blog.
I use a freehand magnifying glass , Bright lights and always use a soft lead pencil to do any tiny marks on the piece.
If you make a mistake it’s ok because it gives the tiny doll character .
If you make a tiny doll I would like to see it Please 🙂
I think my dad made us shcnitzel once. It’s all right. 😉
Christmas Eve is a BIG dinner for us: seafood extravaganza. Shrimp, halibut, king crab legs, scallops, mussels, the whole she-bang. This year my mom made crab-stuffed shrimp, too (which I unfortunately missed out on, since I was at my in-laws for Christmas Eve).
Christmas is still a big dinner, but not as crazy. Spiral ham, orange rolls, cranberry sauce, the traditional baked macaroni and cheese (also served at Thanksgiving). This year we had broccoli au graten too, and it was SO good. And if we’re lucky, twice-baked potatoes. Yum. 😀
Hi, Charlie! Aunt Lorie here. I was just reading the comments from Jennie’s Christmas Dinner blog. From a YEAR ago. If your Dad made schnitzel and it was only OK, then he didn’t know the little tricks that make it GLORIOUS! Are you still in Utah? If you are, I’ll invite you and your folks over for Viennerschnitzel sometime. And serve spaetzle, too! In fact, when Uncle Walt comes over to fix various electronic or computer things, he asks for payment in schnitzel!
We always have all the women make a soup and eat it in bread bowls, it’s just a tradition (easy Christmas Eve dinner) My mom always does exactly the huge meal you mentioned Christmas Day, turkey, ham, etc. And that morning, does breakfast casseroles and hot cocoa… yum.
Christmas Eve is ham, gingered sweet potatoes, three flavors of cranberry sauce, rolls, and this year brocolli (because we had guests. It’s usually brussel sprouts. Yup, those were my kids you heard *cheering* for brussel sprouts in the grocery store on December 23rd, and the reason their mother went a little crzy and bought 1 1/2 pounds of them.) Christmas dinner is roast beast, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts (taking the brocolli’s place) and yule log for dessert. I tried a different recipe for the cake this year and it didn’t crack, so there were no tears in the making of the yule log.
OMG, Wienerschnitzel! 🙂 it’s always been a Xmas tradition in my family to have those for dinner… basically we’d use any excuse we could find to have those since we’re all huge fans… although the recipe has been modified in our parts of the woods so that the Schnitzel is made from Turkey or Chicken (white meat)… anyhow… I’ve only been introduced to the miracle that is “Spätzle” recently, but I have to say it was love at first bite… haven’t tried the combo of Schnitzel and Spätzle yet, but I’m sure it’s grand… 😉
What a weird coincidence…we had Wienerschnitzel and Spaetzle too! When did that become our family tradition? It wasn’t growing up. But we have had the inlaws over for a Viennese dinner the last 2 or 3 Christmas Eve’s since we all go there for Christmas and they’re usually alone Christmas Eve. Christmas day meal at their house is kind of a schmorgesborg of houres d’ouvres (that’s way too many foreign words for one paragraph!), sliced ham on rolls, desserts, etc., and we just eat buffet style, picking and picking at the food until we’re stuffed. It’s nice because it’s not a big, sit-down formal meal like Thanksgiving. It’s pot-luck so everyone just brings a couple of things that they like–cheeses and salami, chips and dip, shrimp cocktail, salad, pies, cookies, candies, etc. I like it. But next year, maybe I’ll bring brisket…yum!
I’m sending this reply a whole year after this blog, but it’s timely, anyhow. Maybe your readers would like to know HOW to make weinnerschnitzel. If you don’t still have the printed recipe I gave you in the Family Cookbook ages ago, I’ll be glad to send you the electronic copy.
So, from one Hildegard to another Hildegard, to your readers.