Eline schaart | 24 | dutch, living in brussels and amsterdam

The following dish isn’t necessary my favourite, nor is it a very traditional one. It’s rather its yearly presence at my family’s Christmas dinner that prompts its association, in my mind at least, with December. Gourmetten is an activity during which you grill your own food by putting small pieces of meat, fish and vegetables on a shared baking plate or in a small pot. The whole is finished with different sauces and some bread. It is my mother who often pushes for gourmetten with Christmas, because it only involves the cutting of raw ingredients.

My disliking of the tradition stems from the pettiness of the whole process; everyone bend over their own mini-pan, waiting impatiently for the mini-chicken to be finished, while trying to defend their territory on the shared grill. Last year’s Christmas dinner was cut short after one of the gourmet-kits stopped working, leaving half of the table with only half-grilled meat pieces and vegetables.

But gourmetten has one major advantage: the short preparation time leaves more time for everyone to unwrap gift, play games and drink wine. Maybe it’s not the food, but these other activities that define a successful Christmas dinner for me.

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