Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas date challenges

Does anyone have any good vegan Christmas recipes? How about vegan + wheat-free, potato-free, tomato-free, aubergine-free and pepper-free?

Christmastime can be full of challenges (as well as fun, food and happy times!), and this year we're wrestling with a little Christmas date-food challenge.

This stems from the fact that, in the Orthodox Church (the main religion in Russia), Christmas is celebrated on 7th January. To complicate matters, 7th January is only really a religious feast day, not a gift-giving and tree-decorating occasion. The main gift-giving and tree-decorating occasion in Russia has traditionally (at least fairly recently) been New Year. This may be because in atheist Soviet times, no one celebrated Christmas at all, so all the tree and gift stuff was done at New Year (I don't know what happened before 1917). So 'Christmas trees' are called 'New Year trees' and 'Father Christmas' is 'Grandfather Frost' and so on.

In modern Russia, these date issues mainly seem to mean an excuse for extra celebrations: Christmas 25th December? Why not have a few drinks? New Year? Bring it on! Orthodox Christmas? More food and drink. And this continues until 'old New Year' (13th January) after which everything settles back down a little.

Now, we are celebrating Christmas (the 25th December one) with my Russian mother-in-law and sister-in-law this year. Mother-in-law is still firmly atheist despite being anti-Soviet in all other respects, but has nonetheless transferred all the tree decorating and gift giving to 25th December since emigrating (while still paying a little more attention to New Year celebrations than might otherwise be the case).

Sister-in-law, on the other hand, has converted to Orthodoxy and follows all the rules and rituals very closely. This includes a strict vegan fast in the weeks leading up to Christmas (7th January). However, she still loves tree-decorating and gifts, so the other days can't be ignored.

Thus, we have a temporary vegan to cater for over Christmas... combined with the fact that mother-in-law currently doesn't eat wheat, potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines or peppers. As we are spending around 5 days together around Christmas, this could make for some interesting cooking! Any ideas?

1 comment:

  1. Update! I've now thought of 2 nice puddings that would work for everyone: baked apples and pears in red wine. :)