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Feeding a crowd at Christmas

Feeding a crowd at Christmas

Whether it’s the gradual increase in food prices over the past year, or your desire to cut back on food waste, there has never been more incentive not to over cater at Christmas. 

But just how do you work out how much food and drink you need when you’re feeding far more people than usual? We’ve come to the rescue.

Turkey – Allow approximately 500g per person. This doesn’t mean that you’ll get 500g of meat each, simply that to get a good portion size you need to allow this much turkey-weight per person. So, if you want to feed 8 adults your turkey should be at least 4Kg, more if you want leftovers. 

Roast beef or pork – If the joint is off the bone, allow 250g per serving – so 2kg for eight people. Allow 350g per serving for roasts on the bone – so around 3kg for eight.

Christmas Turkey

Roasties – Everyone loves roasties! Allow 250g of potatoes per person, so 2kg for eight people.

Stuffing – You need to allow 100g of stuffing per person, so that’s at least 800g for eight people! With stuffing it’s better to have more than run-out, and it’s great on turkey sandwiches later!

Sprouts – Unless you are a sprout-lover allow 80g per person – or 650g for eight people. If you do have any leftover they go great in bubble and squeak for boxing day brunch.

Carrots and other roast or steamed veg – 80g-100g is about right for any serving of vegetables, so you need 800g combined for eight people. I allow more because lots my family are vegetarian.

The Yule Log – Yule logs also predate Christianity. As part of winter solstice celebrations, Gaels and Celts burned logs decorated with holly, ivy, and pinecones to cleanse themselves of the past year and welcome the next one. The practice changed over time and eventually edible representations of the log appeared, which is why we eat chocolate logs today!

Eggnog – Surely the most revolting of traditions. However, historians agree that ‘nog’ was probably inspired by a medieval drink called ‘posset’, a milky drink made with eggs, milk, and sometimes figs or sherry. These were all pricey ingredients, so it was a bit of status symbol to offer it to guests. No-one seems to know for sure why it’s called ‘nog’, but it maybe from the old word ‘noggin’ which was slang for a wooden cup. 

Christmas Yule log

Gravy – 125ml per person is enough for a normal family, but if your relatives are like mine and treat gravy as a food group then allow double. You can always freeze leftovers for an easy addition to midweek suppers. 

Cranberry Sauce – At least 50g per person. I’m sure I eat more than that though!

Bread Sauce – 75ml seems to suffice because not everyone likes it, but those that do LOVE it. Around 600-700ml is usually enough.

Christmas Pudding – A 900g pudding will be plenty to feed eight. 

Custard – Treat it like gravy. 125ml per person unless your family are the type that can’t stop pouring!

Unfortunately, there isn’t one shopping list to suit all families, but this is a good basic guide; adapt it to suit your own catering preferences.


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