Christmas dinner wouldn’t be complete without a slap-up meal, but no two families do it quite the same, even in celeb land.
Ahead of the big day, seven famous types told HuffPost UK about their foody traditions and the Christmas meals they’ll never forget. From kitchen calamities to a trip to KFC, you’ll never look at your dry turkey the same way again.
Myleene Klass: ‘Forgetting to put the oven on’
“I don’t cook on Christmas day. In fact, no one lets me near the kitchen. The only job I did have one Christmas was to turn the oven on, and I forgot. We went out for the morning, came home to a cold oven and realised absolutely nothing had happened. We were about four hours behind! No one has asked me to do anything since. I literally just serve it up and eat.
“I’ve got a Filipino mum and Austrian dad, so food-wise it’s whatever goes. Austrian cooking is quite rich, so my dad is known to put a load of alcohol and a load of cream in a lot of the food and I’m not a big fan of cream. This year is a new Christmas for me though because my boyfriend’s going to be cooking, and he’s an incredible cook.”
Kim-Joy Hewlett: ‘Eating KFC on Christmas Day’
“My favourite Christmas food memory is last year, when me and my partner Nabil spent Christmas in Japan. They don’t really celebrate Christmas over there, but ever since KFC ran an ad about Christmas, somehow going to KFC on Christmas Day became a thing, to the point where people queue up and pre-booking is advised. We spent the afternoon at Tokyo Skytree and eventually found a KFC at around 11pm. We asked for a veggie wrap but the only veggie food they had left was curly fries. So we found a booth, had our curly fries and reminisced about the year whilst sitting in our Christmas jumpers and watching people excitedly come in to KFC and order their chicken. It was one of those very surreal moments I will never forget.”
The Hairy Bikers: ‘Cooking homemade sausages in the snow’
Dave Myers: “The first time I visited my in-laws in Northern Transylvania, Romania, for Christmas, I was to due to cook a traditional Christmas Eve feast. My mother-in-law gave me huge frozen blocks of Porcine mushrooms that they had gathered, cleaned, blanched and preserved in the autumn. I cooked them with garlic, parsley and sour cream. Ilie, one of the uncles, gave me five kilos of his homemade sausages smoked in his chimney. They are so good and I cooked them over a fire in the snow. Folk musicians and about twenty of the family arrived along with lots of home made Palenka, a schnapps-like spirit. What a memorable night. We danced full of good food right into Christmas day, topped off with a duty-free purchased bottle of Highland Park single malt whiskey. I cooked Christmas dinner too, but that’s another tale.”
Si King: “Christmas smells are so evocative and my favourite family foody Christmas memory is the smell of freshly baked bread and a cooking Turkey drifting up the stairs into our rooms on Christmas morning. It was the best alarm clock we had. Everyone got up at the same time dribbling in anticipation of tearing into that fresh loaf (no bread knives for us!) and dipping it into the hot cooking juices of the turkey. Then burning your tongue with the molten hot combo. Ahhhhh, so worth it. Then we had the best bacon sarnies, hot mugs of tea and a sherry of course, as we began to take turns opening pressies – youngest goes first.”
Kate Thornton: ‘Everyone trotting off to the pub’
“The last five years I’ve cooked 16 people Christmas dinner with my mum. Normally we do the traditional fare with all the trimmings, but actually I hate turkey. Last year a friend of mine brought ceviche to start, it was lovely and fresh and a nice palate cleanser. Then in the evening I usually create the mother of all buffets that nobody eats, and I spend Boxing Day moaning about about how much food and money I’ve wasted. That’s the spirit of Christmas, I find. But this year I’ve gone on strike. Instead, we’re all trotting off to the pub and my pre-order is beef and Yorkshire pudding.”
Tamzin Outhwaite: ‘Falling asleep before the turkey’
“We do Italian Christmas, so antipasti to start very early in the day, then tortellini in brodo [Italian chicken soup] as a second course. Then we do the turkey, but the problem is, you’re full before you get that far, so everyone gives up after the first two courses. We have had many, many years where we’ve fallen asleep and actually not got to the turkey at all. My mum was Italian, so I thought that was normal, I thought everyone did five courses: antipasti, tortellini, turkey, then tiramisu, then cheese.”
Sarah-Jane Mee: ‘Finding my little sister eating trifle for breakfast’
“Christmas dinner really is about indulgence in my family home – soup or prawn cocktail to start, turkey, ham AND beef with roast potatoes AND mash and always a choice of three or four desserts that no-one has room for. Mum’s trifle extravaganza has always taken centre stage – a real showstopper dessert showcased in a huge glass dish showing every brightly coloured layer. For as long as I can remember as soon as someone would reach for a second helping of roasties a voice would pipe up: ‘Make sure you save room for Lynda’s trifle!’ Everybody would have some but we never learn and were always so full it would be a Tiny Tim portion – what a waste!
“That was until the year we found my little sister sitting under the tree on Boxing Day morning with the dish in her lap eating the remainder of the trifle for breakfast. Now our new Christmas tradition is to say, ‘Save some trifle for Victoria’s breakfast!’ as she still has it for breakfast every Boxing Day over 30 years later. Life is too short for porridge right? And, after all, it is Christmas!”
Kate, Tamzin and Myleen will appear on Yahoo’s White Wine Question Time, available from Jan 11 on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.