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by Lynn Latson

Created on: December 21, 2008   Last Updated: September 01, 2010

We have a most unusual non-American Christmas dinner. My husband is half Finnish and I am half Scottish, so for Christmas dinner we have a smorgasbord of food from both countries. On the cold table there will be Scottish smoked salmon, dill potato salad, pickled beets, poached cold salmon with a lemon dill sauce, fresh cucumber salad, and cheeses of many varieties. For the hot table we have Finnish rutabaga casserole, scalloped oysters, pork tenderloin stuffed with dried apricots, fresh green beans steamed with dill, and sometimes a small filet mignon roast. There is so much food, we usually wait until evening for the plum pudding with brandy sauce. It’s easy to cook as most everything has been prepared a day or two ahead. Even our cookies are not traditional. My daughter makes chocolate dipped biscotti, soft molasses cookies from a recipe of my Scottish great-grandmother, and I make Greek spice cookies and Baklava. For Christmas Eve I make Paella. It’s so incredibly easy to make and one of my favorite meals.

The day after Christmas is Boxing Day in Great Britain. It was the day servants were given off. There was a box placed by the front door on Christmas and guests put tips into the box. The money was shared between the servants who had worked on the holiday. We always have so much food left over that we invite friends over for a Boxing Day party. Many of our friends also bring food, so we feast all over again!

We love eating food from around the world. If only we could travel much more. One of the best meals in our life was in Holland years ago. Then, there’s British lasagna made with cheddar cheese and white sauce as well as marinara. Yum! Yet, our friend here in Vermont has won out on every meal we’ve had. And, what else…Jon cooks from around the world!

Our Christmas tree is always gigantic, thanks to the Finn in my husband, and is decorated with dolls from all over the world. It’s funny that the only dolls I haven’t found yet are Finnish and Scottish. The first Christmas we were married, thirty four years ago, I made some decorations for our tree until I remembered the doll collection my grandmother had started for me. There were about twenty dolls then and I have added dolls nearly every year since. At a local auction I bid on, and won, a terrific fifteen doll collection for only ten dollars. I’m sure Santa was at work. I still believe in St. Nicholas as we have had so many miracles happen around Christmas.

If anyone would like the recipes for any of these dishes, please feel free to contact me. They will soon be in a cookbook I am going to self-publish. Happy Holidays!

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