From 1982 until 1998, Chef Darren McGrady cooked for the royal family, designing and executing their day-to-day menus and catering their official and private events. In 1998, he moved to the United States with his wife, Wendy, and later penned Eating Royally; Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen.
So what does the royal family eat on Christmas?
According to McGrady, a lot, Marie Claire UK reports. The day begins with a hearty pre-church breakfast that includes eggs, bacon, and sausages. Post-church lunch includes a “salad with shrimp or lobster, and a roasted turkey, and all of your traditional side dishes like parsnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts and Christmas pudding with brandy butter for dessert.” Don’t miss these 10 other royal family holiday traditions you might want to steal for yourself.
But wait, there’s more.
After watching the Queen’s Christmas speech at 3 p.m., afternoon tea is served—with fruitcake. And that’s just the warmup to the royal Christmas buffet dinner, which includes 15 to 20 different items, featuring a variety of roasted meats carved right at the table (think: standing rib roast, turkey, ham), seafood, cooked vegetables, gingerbread cookies, a flaming pudding served with brandy butter, and libations like cherry brandy and hard cider.
As far as favorites go, McGrady has said that these are the perennial favorites of the royal family for their Christmas dinner:
- Potted shrimp – a buttery spread made with chopped, seasoned, and cooked shrimp served on toast points.
- Beef Bourguignon – this could actually be made with venison as well, for which Queen Elizabeth II has at times expressed a preference.
- Shredded Brussels sprouts with onions and bacon – no garlic, of course, since garlic is one of the 9 foods Her Majesty doesn’t eat.
- Bubble and squeak – a traditional British dish of mashed potatoes mixed with chopped cabbage, to which McGrady added kale for a healthy boost.
- Date apple pastry – a simple and rustic baked dessert made with dates and apples rolled in the dough.
Next, check out these rarely seen and wonderfully nostalgic royal family Christmas photos.