Cheesy footballs. Prawn rings. Orange creams. All on the same plate. Whyyyyy?
The usual rules of good taste, moderation and common decency just don't apply at Christmas – and that's as true of the stuff you put in your mouth as the tat you hang all over your house.
Once 1 December has arrived, the red and green mist descends and suddenly you're gobbling down items you would have laughed off the plate two weeks before.
But hey, there's no judgement here! 'Tis the season etc. Our little elves have rounded up all the very weirdest things we'll be scoffing this Christmas …
A king prawn ring
It's an established fact that things are posher if you arrange them in a circle, and nowhere is this more apparent than the sacred king prawn ring. If you just piled a load of cold prawns on a plate you'd be laughed into the new year, but arrange them like a majestic fishy wreath with some Marie Rose sauce in the middle and suddenly you're Instagram's answer to Hyacinth Bucket. Genius.
Of course, they still taste like cold prawns – just ever so slightly more regal.
How these guys became a Christmas food, or even a food at all, is anybody's guess. A flagrant disgrace to the noble names of cheese, football and snacking, they wear their colossal naffness with pride, like the musical Santa bow tie of the buffet table. The festive season isn't complete until you've eaten so many that the roof of your mouth has gone numb.
You also get bonus points for taking the wafer off with your teeth and preserving the perfectly spherical filling. A Christmas miracle!
Orange cream chocolates
Oh, how standards slip over Christmas. In the space of one week you go from a discerning chocolate-connoisseur, cherry-picking green triangles and cappuccino truffles from the communal chocolate box like a duchess, to a sugar-crazed candy fiend, snaffling through the empty wrappers in search of all the rubbish chocs that you'd never usually touch the rest of the year.
This means the toffees that threaten to yank your teeth out, the Turkish delights, and (of course) the orange creams. Ah, the orange creams. They knew you'd come crawling back, once you got desperate enough. Never mind that they taste vaguely like Calpol – they're there, they're covered in chocolate, you're having them.
See also: Bounty Celebrations; Cadbury Eclair Heroes; Strawberry Dream Roses.
Technically this isn't something we "eat" at Christmas … except that it almost is. Despite sounding deceptively like a Scandi health food, Advocaat is actually just alcoholic custard in a bottle. A dusty bottle, probably, that your nan won in a raffle in 1982.
You'd never dream of ordering it in a public bar – but when the curtains are drawn, your slippers are on and Wizzard has just come on the radio for the 140th time, you suddenly realise there is no greater booze innovation on earth. Let's all be Advocaat advocates.
Devils on horseback
"Would you like a prune wrapped in pork?" people could ask at any other time of year, and you'd look at them like they'd offered you a cold spleen on a plate.
But with jingle bells chiming in the background and several roast potatoes as a chaser, suddenly nature's favourite laxative becomes a gastronomic delight. Why do we stop at prunes? Why not All Bran, wrapped in Spam?
Bread sauce in a sandwich
Hey, you there! Welcome to Boxing Day! You look peckish. You've not eaten for a whole 45 minutes. How about putting some liquid bread inside some solid bread and eating it, like that's a normal thing to do?
Trifle for breakfast
Fruit, cream, sponge … jelly … they're all classic breakfast items, what's your problem? If it makes you less judgemental we'll pour some muesli on top.
Little trays of nibbles
You know, generic nibbles. Sometimes they're cheesy, sometimes herby, sometimes they're little sticks made of pretzel. They're too small to put anything on, so you just shovel them into your mouth like biscuit confetti. We only see them at Christmas because they're specially designed for filling out all the tiny gaps between mince pies and turkey sandwiches, like a jolly game of stomach Tetris.
Terrible fake chocolate
What does it taste of, you ask? Is it sawdust? Wax? Vegetable oil and brown food colouring?
WRONG! It's the taste of Christmas joy. Now shhh and eat your mock-late. Look, it's shaped like Rudolph!
Walnuts. On their own
Walnuts are team-players, not solo stars. They need to be surrounded by cake, baked into bread or enshrined inside a little chocolate dome to bring out their unique flavour and distract us from the fact that gnawing the dining table might be tastier.
Which is why it's weird that at Christmas, a time of so much culinary bounty, you actually choose to put a dry walnut in your mouth every time you walk past the nut bowl. Maybe deep down we all feel sorry for the walnut. Maybe we don't want it to know that we only have them around because The Nutcracker did such a good PR job. Because we keep on eating them, and suffer the bitter consequences. Every single time.
Stilton with everything
With crackers. With a mince pie. With custard. On your cornflakes. You can pretend you're doing some incredibly modern gourmet flavour-pairing, but we all know the real reason: pure, festive gluttony.
Likewise cheddar with Christmas cake (blissful) and a Cadbury's finger dunked in a tub of cheese and chive dip (less blissful). The true meaning of Christmas is cheeses, after all.
Liked this? Want more? Try these:
- Christmas food around the world
- 11 foodie signs that Christmas is creeping up on you
- Food you didn't know you could make into a Christmas wreath
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