The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

The 12 Stodges of Christmas: Global foods to pack on the pounds this December!


Today, we bring you a helpful list of the most stodgy, calorie-intense dishes that make their way onto holiday dinner tables around the world.

The way we see it, if you’re going to eat celery and spend all January on a treadmill — and it’s pretty much the law that you do — you might as well make December’s crime fit January’s punishment..

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

A Christmas Pudding from England. Also known as Plum Pudding or Plum Duff, although plums do not feature in the  approved list of ingredients, which includes assorted nuts and dried fruits, suet, and a small keg of brandy. The pudding is steam-cooked for approximately four days before being doused in more brandy and set alight at the dinner table. Accompanied by brandy sauce, brandy butter, and the contents of a fire extinguisher.

My True Love only sent one of these because of their extreme density. If Christmas Puddings were chemical elements, they would lie somewhere between osmium and iridium.

On the 2nd day of Christmas…

Two bowls of Kutia from Ukraine. Often the first dish in the traditional 12-dish Christmas Eve supper served in many Eastern European cultures, Kutia is traditionally made from wheatberries, poppy seeds, nuts, raisins, and honey. Apparently,  it should be made about two weeks in advance. Presumably by the time it is ready it has begun the fermentation process and so adds to the seasonal merriment.

On the 3rd day of Christmas…

Three servings of Julgrøt from Norway. Christmas rice pudding, made from rice, sugar, cream, ground almonds, and containing a single whole almond. The person who finds the almond wins a prize…perhaps a crash course in how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.

On the 4th day of Christmas…

Four pieces of Stollen from Germany. It’s fruit cake, people. Fruit cake gets a bad press, particularly in the USA, as Anthony Windram pointed out on his own blog this week, but if you call it Stollen, it’s all Bavarian and Christmassy and wonderful.

On the 5th day of Christmas…

Five Mince Pies. A Christmas delicacy from Britain: small pies containing dried fruit, sugar, a healthy dose of brandy, and, if you’re going to do it properly, that weird ingredient suet again. Americans find it very difficult to wrap their heads around the idea of fatty bird fodder going into foods for human consumption, so when I offer my American friends my homemade mince pies, filled with made-from-scratch mincemeat, I wait until they’ve eaten a few before enlightening them that they’ve just eaten the contents of their bird feeder.

On the 6th day of Christmas…

Six buckets of KFC from Japan. Orders are placed two months in advance, and people line up outside the Colonel’s place to get their hands on this delicacy, which over the last 40 years has become a Christmas tradition in Japan.

“Our holiday sales are five to ten times higher than other months,” said spokesman Sumeo Yokokawa. “In Japan, Christmas equals KFC.” (ABC News)

A miracle of marketing by KFC, if nothing else.

On the 7th day of Christmas…

Seven Karelian Pasties from Finland. Originally from Russian Karelia, these pasties have a thin crust of rye or rye/wheat and a filling of barley, potato, buckwheat, or rice (the most popular modern filling.) Toppings include cheese, ham, shrimp, and slices of reindeer.

Yes, reindeer. I guess the buck — and Santa Claus — stops in Finland.

On the 8th day of Christmas…

Eight bibingka from the Philippines – a traditional Christmas dessert made from rice flour and coconut milk, baked in banana leaves. A generously-sized bibingka would serve four people. The bibingka made by residents of Mandaue in Cebu, in May 2011, would serve considerably more. It contanined 50 sacks of rice, 50 sacks of sugar, and the milk from 13,500 coconuts.

Now there’s a town that takes its holiday stodge seriously.

On the 9th day of Christmas…

Nine bread puddings from Puerto Rico. Bread Pudding can be found in many variations around the globe; this Puerto Rican version, made with coconut milk and sliced mango, manages to make the ultimate stodgy pudding into something exotic.

Having hankered after a Caribbean Christmas for more years than I can remember, I fear this dessert only serves to strengthen my resolve.

On the 10th day of Christmas…

Ten Bolo Rei from Portugal. Bolo Rei – King Cake. Crown-shaped cakes, encrusted with raisins, nuts, and crystallized fruit. Contains a small metallic toy and a fava bean. Whoever finds the fava bean is supposed to pay for the bolo rei the following year — talk about adding insult to injury.

On the 11th day of Christmas…

Eleven lussekatter from Sweden. These saffron and quark buns are eaten to celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day, the shortest day of the year which, according to the Julian Calendar, was December 13th. When the Gregorian Calendar changed this to December 21st, Saint Lucy’s Day defiantly remained on the 13th. The Swedes’ cavalier attitude to dates and solstices is why I don’t feel too bad about suggesting you eat these delicious morsels on January 4th.

On the 12th day of Christmas…

And finally, if your True Love has really showered you with all these carbs, the only thing he should be giving you on Day 12 is a year’s subscription to Weight Watchers.


STAY TUNED for more Random Nomad highlights from 2012!

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Image: Woman Standing on Weighing Scale – stockimages /

2 responses to “The 12 Stodges of Christmas: Global foods to pack on the pounds this December!

  1. Adventures (@in_expatland) December 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    It’s bad enough with the Christmas cookies, pies (we prefer pumpkin and apple) and seasonal chocolates, but to add any of the above would definitely be the tipping point! Happy Holidays

    • ML Awanohara December 26, 2012 at 10:31 am

      @ Linda
      That said, I can never get enough of Kate’s humo(u)r, particularly when she does one of her highly amusing food posts. I find it sustains me during this season of excess. 🙂 Merry merry happy happy to you and yours as well — I can see from some of your FB posts that you have a lot on your mind these days… Take good care!

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