How to do Christmas like a New Yorker

Swap some of your British foodie traditions for a festive bite of the Big Apple this year.
Chocolate babkaChocolate babka
Chocolate babka

British Christmasses can get pretty samey. There's only so many slices of turkey and Quality Streets one person can eat in a lifetime. And Brussels - no matter how inventive you are, no matter how much bacon you add - are still just Brussels.

If you fancy scoffing something a bit different though, it can be difficult to break the loop, especially if you still want that traditional gluttonous festive hit.

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So, this is the point at which you grab New York Christmas: Recipes And Stories by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup off the shelf - because nowhere is more Christmassy than New York (see Elf, Home Alone 2, When Harry Met Sally - and yes, that is a Christmas film), and New Yorkers seriously know how to eat.

Parsnips from New York Christmas RecipesParsnips from New York Christmas Recipes
Parsnips from New York Christmas Recipes

Here are some culinary swaps inspired by the book, that you need in your life if you're going to do Christmas like a New Yorker...

Instead of mince pies and chocolate coins for breakfast... bagels

While breakfast on December 25 is ordinarily whatever can be found in the bottom of your stocking (although not the orange, never the orange) - the chocolate coins and walnuts supplemented by Buck's Fizz and mince pies - in New York, the bagel reigns supreme. The only way to go is cream cheese and smoked salmon (or lox, if you want to sound truly authentic), with red onion slivers, tomato and capers. It'll make waiting for Christmas dinner that much easier.

Instead of Quality Streets... chocolate-dipped pretzels

Cornbread muffinsCornbread muffins
Cornbread muffins
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Less sickly and more moreish than their wrapped opponents, chocolate dipped pretzels have an addictive saltiness and are fun, yet simple, to make yourself. Also, swap them into rotation and you'll avoid everyone fighting over the last chocolate toffee finger.

Instead of turkey... roast beef

In America, turkey is very much reserved for Thanksgiving, the US' main holiday. Not that Christmas is considered an afterthought, but who wants to cook a whole turkey twice in less than two months? Beef it is then - however, across the pond they are generally strangers to the humble Yorkshire pud, which is an utter travesty. Don't forget yours.

Instead of roast potatoes... mashed potatoes

New YorkNew York
New York

For some reason, roasties that are goose fat-crisp, fluffy in the middle and golden on the outside, are ditched in favour of mashed spuds in the US. If you can bring yourself to make the change, Lars and Lisa suggest flavouring it with rosemary or garlic.

Instead of Brussels... Waldorf salad

Looking for a lighter side, and have a few family members who'd happily pass on sprouts? Try a classic Waldorf salad; you'll need grated apple and celeriac stirred through with mayonnaise, all topped off with caramelised nuts for crunch.

Instead of Christmas cake... cheesecake

Parsnips from New York Christmas RecipesParsnips from New York Christmas Recipes
Parsnips from New York Christmas Recipes
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Sure, there's no marzipan involved, or booze, but traditional New York-style baked vanilla cheesecake will certainly suit anyone who can't stand dried fruit or mixed peel. Lars and Lisa suggest dotting it with fresh fruit, or pouring over a thick blueberry compote to serve.

Instead of candy canes... candy cane cupcakes

Rather than cracking your teeth on red and white canes knicked off the Christmas tree, bash up a few into manageable chunks and use to decorate the frosting on simple cupcakes - perfect for keeping little ones quiet when waiting to open presents.

New York Christmas: Recipes And Stories by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup, photography Lisa Nieschlag and Julia Cawley, is published by Murdoch Books, priced £30. Available now.

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