Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Does it all fit on the table?

Christmas dinner

One last Lisa’s week before Christmas and one of the things I find very interesting at this time of year is when I ask my students what they’ll be eating for their Christmas dinner. I get a million different answers which is the interesting point in the exercise. I hear everything from simple sausages and potato salad through to more complex roast goose with potato dumplings and red cabbage, with fondue, raclette, goulash, fish or even snails thrown in for good measure. It seems to me that every family here in Germany has their own specialty for their Christmas Eve dinner and any other celebration dinners over the Christmas period.

In the UK, it’s much more standardised, although I have noticed a trend shift in more recent years to a little more variety. However, when I lived in the UK it was turkey all the way. A Christmas Day dinner without turkey just wasn’t Christmas dinner!

It’s the only time of the year that most of us are willing to spend about 6 hours in the kitchen slaving over a bird that is too big to fit into the oven and a whole array of side dishes that will all get eaten up in about 30 minutes!

The first year that I spent my Christmas in Germany, I decided that it would be fun to mix up our cultures and we have a pretty traditional German Christmas Eve followed by a terribly British Christmas Day. And yes, we have turkey. In fact, we have the whole kit and caboodle (see “Redensart” here on the Lingua Solutions page” from 13.08.2015 if you don’t know what that means!).

First of all, I roast a huge turkey. At least 5 kilos – it’s very important to have enough meat left over to make lots of turkey sandwiches over the next few days – and almost too large to fit in the oven, which is why I have two ovens so that everything else can go in the second one!

The turkey will be stuffed with a pork, bread, vegetable and fruit stuffing and I use orange butter to ensure that the skin will be brown and crispy. Of course, I also wrap small balls of stuffing with bacon as a substitute for my English “pigs in blankets”, which I can’t track down here in Germany. In addition to the main event – the bird – there will also be potatoes roasted in goose fat, lemon glazed carrots, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and peas. Home made cranberry sauce, bread sauce (yes, it’s really a sauce made out of bread but don’t dismiss it until you try it! It’s turned into such a favourite for my German family!), and gravy round off the main course.

After all those hours in the kitchen, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy sitting down, with my silly cracker paper hat on, and tucking in to my dinner. The hard work is always worth it and the leftovers will keep me happy for two or three days after the main event too.

What will you be sitting down to on Christmas Eve?


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!