Messing with Christmas dinner can be dangerous. Particularly when cooking for fastidious family members, any alteration to time-honoured tradition is almost certainly going to be met with extreme hostility. Imagine the look on your father-in-law’s face when his favourite stuffing is, for the first time in forty years, not on the table. The feuding doesn’t bear thinking about. Then again, not all change is necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, you can come up something seriously awesome by doing things differently.
Nowhere has done more to prove this theory than a small chip-shop in Perthshire, Scotland. Rather than see themselves through the holidays with scant servings of cod and chips, Dunkeld Fish Bar have decided to think outside the box. Their solution to boost seasonal sales is to supply their customers with the community’s first fully-fried Christmas dinner. Say goodbye to finicky turkeys and roasted veg - this year, it’s all about beer, batter and breadcrumbs.
Featured on the new menu are crisp turkey goujons, battered Brussels sprouts and carrot and parsnip fritters, all of which give traditional Christmas staples a comforting, golden, greasy glow. To make matters more indulgent, these ingredients are ringed by a giant “pig in blanket” - bacon-wrapped, battered footlong sausage - and flanked by a deep-fried mince pie for dessert. If you thought you were full after ordinary Christmas dinner, you’re in for a shock.
According to the creator of this artery-clogging Christmas feast, the real surprise element has nothing to do with the big-hitters of the Christmas menu, such as turkey and sausage. Instead, the highlight is the oft neglected Brussels sprout. Scott Davie, who runs the restaurant with his wife Shannon reports that, "People think they don't like Brussels sprouts, but they're always overcooked. We do them from raw, and their natural moisture content cooks them through, and they are absolutely amazing. They are really, really good." If anything’s going to get you to eat your greens, it’s a hot bath of oil.
Though it is slightly more expensive than your standard chippy tea at £10 a go, there’s a better reason to try the new meal than pure curiosity. All sale proceedings will go to the Dunkeld community, with plans to organise a visit from Santa and his reindeer for the local children if enough unorthodox dinners are sold. So far, the prognosis is hopeful. According to Mr Davie, "You get a whole sausage and all the trimmings. It's really popular."
The idea of fundamentally changing everything about one of the most important meals of the year can feel like a risk too far for many of us. But, if the positive reaction that the Dunkeld Fish Bar has received can be anything to go by, it’s clear that occasionally the gamble can pay off. The fact that you can eat something seriously unhealthy, and yet feel that you’ve done something good is also an added bonus. After all, isn’t that what Christmas is really all about?