It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas


Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, surely you can appreciate the Christmas food ! Apart from seeing family members and reconnecting with friends, food is the most important part of the Christmas season.

In years gone by you couldn’t visit a relative / friend’s house without getting a glass of sorrel and a thick slice of Christmas cake (which some call Christmas pudding). Oh the good old days! Visiting relatives alone could cause you to gain weight. Every stop meant more cake and more sorrel and if you didn’t have any, it was almost seen as an insult.

As the times change, and as families form their own cultures, there may be less weight gain from this activity (primarily because we’re not visiting as much, generally). No matter how times change, there are some Christmas staples ! Things you expect to eat at Christmas time no matter what.

  • Christmas Cake

This fruity, alcohol-laced baked goodness is necessary to kick off the season. It can be made without eggs, without alcohol, etc… however you like it, but it is a necessity for the season. If you want to check out a quick and easy Christmas cake recipe, click the image below. However, if you would like a less time-consuming solution you can purchase cakes in different sizes at PriceSmart. PriceSmart Christmas cakes are exceptionally delicious.


  • Sorrel drink

A mysterious-looking flower. Who would have thought that such a drink would be so delicious, especially after adding a little Red Label Wine, Fruit Wine (or box wine, sometimes referred to as bulk wine) or the good old Wray – Wray and Nephew White Rum to the mixture. Making sorrel drink seems a delicate process, if you’d like to give the recipe a try, click the image below. If not, you may always purchase Tru-Juice’s sorrel drink already bottled and mixed with ginger for your pleasure.

  • Ham

Whether chicken ham (yes they have chicken ham) or pork ham, this kind of meat must be present as long as it can be afforded at Christmas time. Personally, we don’t eat ham at any other time of year. Ham is among the sacred Christmas traditions – the Christmas staples. To try your hand at cooking and decorating (no Christmas ham is complete without the proper decorative trimmings) your own Christmas ham, click the image below. For those who would prefer an easier way out, you may purchase your ham at MegaMart and leave it by the deli for it to be baked and decorated for a fee of course. You may also carry your ham to Christar Villas, their kitchen staff provides those services.

  • Ackee and Saltfish

I don’t know about you but we love to have ackee and saltfish on Christmas morning. It doesn’t matter if it’s ackee and saltfish with yam, banana, sweet potato or ackee and saltfish with bread or ackee and saltfish with fried breadfruit, as long as ackee and saltfish is included in the Christmas breakfast options. As it should be, since ackee and saltfsh is our national dish. For an easy ackee and saltfish recipe, click the image below.

NOTE: For the Jamaica Observer’s much anticipated Christmas Cookbook for 2013 (the 2014 edition has not yet been added to the website), click the Christmas cookbook banner below. The cookbook has dozens of recipes for the season. Christmas is the season for cooking!

If clicking the banner doesn’t work, click here for all published cookbooks from the Jamaica Observer

This year we decided to add something else to the list. Based on our close association with Trinidad and Tobago at the moment (we have a few Trinidadian friends), we decided to adopt one of their Christmas staples – Ponche de Creme. It literally translates to punch with cream, however it is really egg nog with alcohol.

We made our first batch recently and it came out pretty good, so we’ve decided to add it to our traditional Christmas must haves. We love the idea of adopting a more Caribbean view of Christmas. Click here to try the ponche de creme recipe.




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