December 20, 2011

Christmas food & veganizing it

Food plays a big part in my Christmas celebration. It has always been about a half of it all. I’ve been fussing about the food for weeks now – not because I’m vegan but in general. It has been a wonderful and surprising thing to see that even being vegan there’s not that much to miss whatever holiday it might be. It depends on the point of view of course, for example I haven’t fancy fish ever so that’s no loss to me. The most traditional food on Finnish Christmas table must be the Christmas ham. You start to hear about the suffering of the pigs way before the Christmas and there have been these animal activist sues lately in Finland so this year it all has seemed exaggerated whether people are for it or against it – Personally I don't give a shit if someone sneaks and films something even without permission so people would know because it is outrageous some see so much effort to cover it all up. People MUST know!


In Finland, the Christmas dinner is eaten on the Christmas Eve, December 24th. In the morning there is Christmas Rice Porridge (topped with cinnamon, sugar / mixed fruit soup / prune soup / cold milk). Traditionally before the meal there is assorted fish and herring platter with boiled potatoes and it can include all things fish and fishy - freshly salted salmon, lutefisk (or lutefish), marinated herrings, Baltic herring with mustard, smoked or cold smoked salmon, fish roe.

And after it follows the actual Christmas dinner. Finnish Christmas table is similar to the Swedish Christmas table. It contains many different dishes, most of them typical for the season. The main dish is usually a large traditional Oven-Roasted Christmas ham, which is glazed with mustard and breadcrumbs and is eaten along with traditional root vegetable casseroles: Carrot casserole, Sweetened potato casserole and Rutabaga casserole, and with the other dishes. For some people Liver Casserole (with raisins) also belongs in Christmas. Potato casserole can be sweetened or not, depending on preference - BUT traditionally it IS sweetened. There can also be roast turkey, mixed beetroot salad (with dressing), Mushroom salad, Italian Salad, Liver Pate, Beetroot Pate, Vegetable Terrine and Christmas Bread (usually Sweet Christmas Bread). Finnish Christmas table also contains assortment of cheeses.

For dessert and sweet traditional foods are Gingerbread cookies, Star-shaped Christmas pastries (flaky pastry star with plum jam in middle), Christmas fruit cake, Cranberry parfait (with whipped cream), plum fromage frais, Christmas marmalades, Confections. And cheese and biscuits.

The traditional Christmas beverage is either alcoholic or non-alcoholic mulled wine/ Glogg (“glögi” in Finnish). The alcoholic version can be Red Christmas Glogg or White Christmas Glogg.

(On one site it was “glögg” which seemed wrong and weird because there is no letter “Ö” in english keyboard. Then I founded a word “Glogg” but whenever I’ve tried to search for the English word for the drink I had found the word “mulled wine” and if I ever try explain this to anyone in English that’s what I’m going to use – and besides I have no idea how to even spell the word “Glogg”.)


There is SO MUCH meat and fish on the Christmas table, all sorts of fishes and fish roe, ham, turkey and sometimes reindeer.

Many casseroles have eggs in them but they are as easy to make without them and tastes as good (if not even better). You simply replace cow milk with soymilk for example. And like carrot casserole you just leave out the egg, usually recipes with only one egg can be done without it without it would affect too much (depending on the food of course). Some want to save time on Christmas and take a shortcut what comes making casseroles from scratch. The ready-made meals usually have eggs in them as well as bunch of food additives. And I have learned well that food made by yourself is so, so much better than those shitty ready-made versions on the shelves in the markets - So I've learned to do them by myself. And shortcut to that is to use ready-made purées (which usually they don’t contain food additives), so you don’t have to cook all those carrots yourself.

As a vegan, I don't eat ham or meat at all. So I replace the suffered pork with seitan "ham". Seitan (also called "wheat meat") is a food and a meat substitute for vegans, made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. And for the record, the name has nothing whatsoever to do with Satan or anything like that, like some close-minded (and childish and/or stupid) meat-eaters might think - but vegans know better.

Like I mentioned I myself don’t miss fish but if you’re planning having something fishy fish roe can be replaced with “roe” made from seaweed and it truly resemble the looks and the taste of fish roe - and would fool anyone who doesn’t know what it is. Take my word for it. For fish, I came across this interesting substitute for herring and particularly for mustard marinated herrings. There herring was replaced with eggplant which was first cooked for five minutes until it softened and then marinated in same mustard marinade like herring. Apparently it resembles the real fish things with its texture and all. I don’t know but sounds very interesting and clever idea.

You can replace traditional Liver Pate with Bean Pate. Even vegetable terrine can be made without egg. It is easy to substitute egg with egg-replacer but not everyone like to use those and they can be really expensive. But it sure doesn’t mean it’s not possible to make.

Christmas Rice Porridge is made in soymilk or other milk than cow milk. Sweet things like Gingerbread cookies, Star-shaped Christmas pastries can also be done without eggs. And also Cranberry parfait. I think that eggs are overrated what comes to making foods and even desserts... It can take time and effor to trying to complete your dessert just the way you want it.

You can find ready-made frozen puff pastry sheets, from supermarket freezers. Many people use them as a shortcut to save time and effort – not everything needs to be made from scratch. But since they are ready-made, always remember to read the list of ingredients from the back of the box, etc. They could be containing butter and sometimes eggs. So make sure it's butterless and doesn't contain dairy products or eggs. There are also ready-made frozen puff pastry sheets that are suitable for vegans too. Same thing with frozen gingerbread dough! Yes, there's ready-made gingerbread dough too, but as far I have noticed so many of them seem to contain eggs and other stuff. But gingerbread dough is very simple to make by scratch unlike puff pastry dough which takes a lot of work and time to make...

When making Christmas marmalades (or marmalades in general) gelatin is most often replaced with agar-agar. Agar-Agar is a (flavorless) vegetarian gelatin substitute derived from seaweed. (If someone didn’t know yet gelatin is derived from animal bones along with animal skin, hooves, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Fucking yummy!)

For more information, instructions, recipes and stuff Google, Google, Google!! :)

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Okay.. To some this might look like some kind of a preaching on being a vegan and not eating meat - But it’s not. Ok, there is cute animal picture but at least not a gory picture of a butchered pig or anything (I’m not like that). This is just an information from traditional Finnish Christmas foods and vegan Christmas foods. If nothing else, don’t judge people who don’t eat meat.

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