Years ago, almost everyone sat down to Christmas dinner in the UK at the same time, so as to be finished and settled down in time for the Queen's Speech, live on television at 3p.m.
Nowadays, the Queen records her speech, there are more television channels and most of them run the speech a few times during the day. Though that national tradition is a thing of the past, the elements of a traditional Christmas meal are still pretty much the same.
Smoked salmon, served with buttered brown bread and a slice of lemon, or wrapped around some prawns, is a typical festive starter.
Turkey long ago replaced goose as the most popular main course. But it is what the turkey comes to the table with that make it especially British. The accompaniments include:
- chipolatas - small sausages - wrapped in bacon
- roasted root vegetables, especially roasted parsnips which are sweet and moist
- brussels sprouts, often with chestnuts or bacon or both. Even people who never in a million years would eat a brussels sprout will manage a few for Christmas
- bread sauce, a mixture of bread crumbs, milk, cream, onions and seasonings that can be something you had to grow up with to love.