I understand that most families follow traditions, and choosing dishes for the Christmas meal often revolves around what their parents and grandparents served. But a table wobbling with the weight of so much food has never been our style — not since we moved to our own house, anyway. Year after year, we had been slowly but surely veering away from the practice of preparing every traditional dish, and feeling lacking and cheated if we failed to serve one or more of them.
For the past three or four years, the tabletop grill has been the feature of our holiday meals. This year was no exception. The difference is that we pared down the amount of food even more. While the challenge of recycling leftovers is till very much in my system, the challenge of having no leftovers at all excites me even more today.
So, for our Christmas Day lunch, the tabletop grill was taken out of storage, cleaned and set at the center of the dining table. Prep time for all the components of the meal took less than 30 minutes.
To go on the grill, there were marinated pork and beef. They were sliced so thinly that it took only 15 minutes for the meat to soak up the marinade.
For our older daughter, Sam, who eats no mammals, there were sliced chicken breast fillet and octopus.
The meat and seafood were accompanied by mixed vegetable kimchi prepared by our younger daughter, Alex.
And then, there was lettuce to wrap the meat and kimchi with.
So, the meat and seafood went on the top grill while cheese was melted in the little trays underneath.
Lettuce leaves were laid on the plate, cooked meat / seafood was arranged at the center and topped with kimchi. Then, the melted cheese was poured directly over them.
The package was wrapped and rolled, and the feast for the taste buds was on.
And, to cleanse the palate after every roll, there was hot tea.
We just kept repeating the process until we were full. Grill, wrap and roll, refill the teacups…
I can’t remember a Christmas day meal at home that was more relaxed. There was no frenzied preparation and no one was overly tired by the time we sat down to lunch. And we had the leisure of enjoying the food and each other’s company in an unhurried meal.