After last year’s damp squib of a Christmas, many families are determined to make this year’s celebration special – but the prophets of doom are at it again, now warning of turkey shortages.

In fact it was reported that turkeys were being sold as early as October, with birds being stored in family freezers just in case of shortages nearer the time.

But would a turkey-less Christmas really be the end of the world?  It’s hard to believe, but the turkey-eating tradition only took off in Victorian times.  Before that, most families would have had a goose for their festive dinner table, which is why we have that familiar old rhyme “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat…”

Goose is still a strong tradition across much of Europe, where roasted goose rules particularly in French cuisine, and it remains the Christmas feast choice of many other European countries.

Here in the UK, goose has seen something of a mini-revival in recent years – but like our American cousins, most Brits have still tended to stick with turkey as their centrepiece roast on December 25th.

However, there are plenty of other choices, from orange-glazed ham to topside of beef, local lamb or roast pork, all of which can be dressed up to make a table centrepiece that rivals the turkey.

Or you could even consider an even more radical approach and go meat-free, with a stunning veggie or nut-based option.

For meat-eaters thinking of shaking things up a bit this year, it’s a good idea to have a chat with a friendly local butcher, of which there’s no shortage here on the Island.  They can make suggestions tailored to your budget and your family size, and some are even happy to suggest recipes or give cooking advice.

Some independent butchers are also offering a delivery service and will be able to offer time-saving extras such as pies, pates, gourmet sausages and other festive accompaniments.

Pop in and have a chat early, consider placing an early order – then you can stop thinking about turkey shortages and get on with planning some of the more enjoyable bits of your Christmas.

Colin Clarke
Author: Colin Clarke