The Plan to Eat Podcast

#5: Holiday Traditions in the UK with Hannah Drake

December 15, 2021 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 5
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#5: Holiday Traditions in the UK with Hannah Drake
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we interview Hannah Drake, an American living in England, about how holiday traditions are different, and the same, in the two countries. Join us for a fun conversation about Christmas markets, a hot chocolate bar, and British traditions! 
Happy Holidays from Plan to Eat!

Find the recipes Riley, Roni, and Hannah talk about in this episode:
Goose Fat Roast Potatoes
Salmon Sushi Bowls
Beef and Mushroom Carbonara
Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Creamy Parmesan Sauce

Connect with all the PTE Podcast recipes here
Sign up for a free trial:
Contact us:

Connect with us:

[00:00:00] I'm Riley Whitson and I'm Roni Vayre. And this is the plan to eat podcast where we, I have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.

Roni: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Plan to Eat podcast. Today, we had the opportunity to interview one of my friends, Hannah Drake. We were friends in high school and she has since moved to the UK to be with her husband. And it was just really awesome to reconnect with her and talk with her about holidays in England.

Riley: Yeah, we run the gamut from what she likes to eat, to holiday decor, to her yummy hot chocolate bar. We're really thrilled that we get to share just our chat with her and, hope we share some holiday traditions that you may have never heard of before. And ones that are probably very familiar to you.

Roni: Enjoy this episode.

Today, we have Hannah Drake here with us. She is actually one of my friends [00:01:00] from high school, but now she lives in the UK. 

Hannah: Hi. 

Roni: how do you describe yourself? Do, are you an ex-pat or are you just an American living in England? What 

Hannah: I've had a bit of a reckoning with the term ex-pat this year? Um, because I've realized that, only people from like rich white countries get to be ex-pats. Everyone else is an immigrant. So. Um, I'm kind of wearing the immigrant badge a little bit, a little bit more. Yeah. 

Riley: I think it's interesting. Cause you live there. This is something you're experiencing. So over here in the US, I don't think I would have known the difference, but 

Hannah: yeah, it's just like, I feel like ex-pats are typically like Australia, England, France, Canada, US kind of places. And then. Yeah. When you, anyone else moves, you're like, oh, you immigrated somewhere. You're an immigrant now. 

Roni: Yeah. Yeah. That is interesting. I guess I have never looked at really like the definition of what an ex-pat [00:02:00] is. I just, uh, yeah, probably ignorance. 

Riley: I don't think I've ever actually called anyone that or been around many people who call themselves that. So I think my, really my experience with that terminology is pretty minimal, but I just read it and, you know, bios and things like that.

Hannah: Yeah, I think it used to be in my Instagram bio, but, oh, I live abroad. I lived overseas, like the sounds. Like a fancy 

Roni: fancier. Yeah. 

Riley: So we're really excited to talk to you today about your, um, experience with the holidays in another country, particularly from your perspective of having lived in the U S most of your life.

Having a pretty general idea of what we do here, and then the differences of how your life is now. I'd love to just hear how you ended up in England. When did you move there? What's the story? 

Hannah: So I moved to England in June of 2017. So it's been, what is that? Four and a half years now. Um, I moved here to get married.[00:03:00] I met my husband, my now husband on a mission trip with my church in 2016. And we just kind of stayed in touch over that back when Skype was a thing and no one had heard of zoom and we would Snapchat all day. Like we would have to charge our phones in the middle of the day cause we would Snapchat so much.

We just stayed in touch and, started dating long distance. We got engaged. In Sweden actually on a trip. And then I moved. Yeah, it was about 13 months after we met. So I moved over here as his fiance on a fiance visa. And so then I had six months to get married and I couldn't work, um, until we got married. So we just got married at the registry office, um, kind of like getting married at the courthouse or something and yeah, yeah. Been here ever since. 

Roni: That's pretty cool. I think actually the last time that we saw each other was in 2018 before you guys actually had your like [00:04:00] formal wedding ceremony, 

Hannah: you guys were in London.

Roni: Yeah. We had been in Europe for three weeks and we spent our last couple of days in London. And you happen to be in London because your parents were coming into town that day for your wedding.

Hannah: Oh my gosh. Yeah. I completely forgot about that. Yeah. So we had a second wedding. I think it was about nine months after we got married. We had like a proper wedding, um, with some friends and family and yeah, it did the whole like white dress, big party thing. 

Riley: Awesome. I love that. that's pretty cool. 

Hannah: I know. Yeah, it was, it was crazy. We were on a trip to Copenhagen. You can just take the train across, I don't know some kind of, some body of water. I don't know what it is to Malmo Sweden. And so I totally knew it was coming. Like we had picked out rings together and I mean, it's like talk to not ask my dad, but talk to my dad. And, um, yeah, so I knew it was coming. I was like, oh my family's [00:05:00] Swedish. If you want to propose in my motherland's. Right.

Riley: That's too funny. 

Roni: That's awesome. So you're in Birmingham, which is like an hour out of London. 

Hannah: Yeah. About maybe hour and a half. Two hours. Yeah. About an hour on the train. I don't know. I haven't been to London in like, I think it's been two years now. So now I can't remember, but it's the, it's kinda it's England, like second city. It's the second biggest city in England and yeah, it's a really cool, definitely different from where we grew up. 

Roni: Yeah. So Hannah and I both grew up in Colorado. Like I said, we went to high school together and that was how we, we met each other through our church, through a youth group. 

Riley: So off the top of your head, what would you say is, like the thing that comes to mind about holidays in the UK? 

Hannah: Oh gosh. I feel like for me, I think it's [00:06:00] like Christmas markets. That's typically what I think about when I think about like Christmas time in the UK, like every city, every little village has like a Christmas market and they're so fun.

Obviously they started in Germany or France. They also are really popular there. And, um, in 2019 in December, we went to. Switzerland to go to some Christmas markets in Switzerland as well. So it's like a European thing, but that's like definitely the vibe, it makes it feel a bit more like cozy and like kind of like traditional or you know, old, timey or something like that. Just a little bit older somehow. 

Riley: Which I think has like this, um, I, to me it's like romanticize, like in what I'm picturing in my mind versus what it may actually be. I'm just romanticizing the whole thing. Would you describe what a winter market is like? 

Hannah: So the city center in Birmingham has quite a big one. It's called the Birmingham Frankfurter Christmas [00:07:00] market or something like that. And it's like, I, I don't know where they keep, these structures all year round and they must have like a whole building to store them in because they literally put up. How, like they're like little houses, basically like little stalls for all of the, like all of the vendors and stuff.

And then there's like these huge ones that have like food and drink and all kinds of different stuff. And they, like, they literally have, some of them have like stories on them. Like they're like two or three stories tall. You can't go up. Uh, windmill with like lights or like a carousel with like, you know, Santa's spinning around the top or something like that.

And like everything's lit up. It's like the they're all like wooden structures. And they have like the really straight, like, perfectly spaced, like big light bulbs on them. So it's just very like clean lines. And then, you know, like half a meter, long sausages and, um, Mo mulled wine.

Like a stein of beer, you can get all kinds of hot [00:08:00] chocolates. So when we were in Austria, not Austria, Switzerland, we got these like potato pancakes. I don't wouldn't even know how to say them, but they're kind of like latkes. But oh my gosh, they were so good. Like we just kept going back for more. So it's just like, everything's fried. Warm and amazing. And it's like super crowded, but it's great. 

Riley: It's like a Christmas carnival or a bit like a Christmas carnival. 

Hannah: the thing that they have to save in every hallmark movie. Like that is what it is. It's like in every town and city. 

Roni: So then those are also like what some of the stalls have gifts and like handmade.


Hannah: Yeah. So depending on where it is and like who's in charge of it. Um, the one in the Birmingham city center is a bit of a bummer because the city council is in charge of it. And so like, they have like five different vendors. So like every like five stalls are like exactly the same stuff, but a lot [00:09:00] of places will have more independent businesses.

You can get like local, you know, could be like honey or gin or. Jewelry or artwork or something like that. And so there's this year, there's one, there's a company called independent Birmingham that just promotes independent businesses around the city. And they have, there's an independent Birmingham Christmas market, um, in the cathedral in town.

And so they have like a lot of restaurants and bars and stuff have like little stalls, so you can go get a drink or a sandwich. And there's like a pop-up pub and stuff. It's really. 

Roni: That sounds really awesome. That sounds, I, uh, when I studied abroad, I spent Christmas in Germany with a friend and that's exactly like what I remember the Christmas market being like there too. I remember eating, uh, all of the food. I got literally anything that I could buy. I got like a huge pretzel and the huge bratwurst and like hot chocolate and the mulled cider, whatever. Yeah. It was the best. [00:10:00] 

Hannah: It's so fun. It's like we, we went, we took our son. Just putting what is now 13 months. And we took our son the other weekend and it was just like, it was so fun.

We took him on the carousel. He screamed the first time he went on it a couple of weeks before with my sister and just like scream the whole time. And I was like, should I make that? Try to make them stop? I don't know. But he tried hot chocolate for the first time and loved it. Of course he did.

Roni: Obviously in the UK, there's not Thanksgiving, that's a very American thing. So like when does the market start to get set up and going? 

Hannah: So this year it's it opened? I think like mid November, I think that's pretty typical. It usually opens maybe for a couple of days or a week before, like the lights turn on. Um, so it'll all be up, but it just won't be lit up. But that's kind of like the [00:11:00] beginning of Christmas, I would say like mid November. Cause obviously there's not the debate of like, do you decorate before or after Thanksgiving? So I'm most people that I know usually wait until like end of November, early December to decorate.

So, but like December 1st you go into a shop and like Christmas music is playing all the staff are like wearing their Christmas jumpers sweaters. Um, it's all like decorated and stuff, but 

Roni: What do you feel like is, uh, aside from the Christmas market, what do you feel like is a difference between some of your traditions that you had in the United States compared to what you guys do in england? 

Hannah: I mean, there is a lot, that's the same. I think one thing like in, just in general about England, is that like a lot of. Oh, there's a lot of differences, but there are, there is a, quite a big portion of our culture that overlaps, which helps with like, um, being homesick and like culture shock and all that kind of stuff. But I like [00:12:00] I've discovered this year. I'd never noticed before, because I never had any intention of meeting Santa, but it's really difficult to like meet Santa here.

Santa is only going to be at like an event or like, a location. You have to like book tickets, maybe that's also because of COVID. But, I feel like in the states you just like go into a mall and Santas, they're like you go into a big department store and Sansa's there. So like, that's, it's been tricky trying to find Santa. One thing that I have been learning a lot about this year as well, is. Every school, basically every school does a nativity play. So I don't know if you've ever seen the movie nativity I don't know if it's that kind of crazy, but, um, yeah, every school does like an nativity.

I would be curious to see if it's like in, um, love actually, where there's so many kids that like, somebody is like the lobster and the octopus, but like they do like the proper, like Mary, Joseph Jesus. So [00:13:00] schools will stage that, which seems very different from the U S cause I feel like you would only see that sort of thing at like a church.

And then the other thing that I've noticed is that movie theaters are closed on Christmas day. Whereas like, I think a lot of people in the states, their tradition is like to go to the movies on like Christmas day, afternoon or something and like, yeah, everything's. 

Roni: Yeah. I think actually a lot of blockbusters, like try to come out on Christmas day. Cause it's a pretty big day. I remember we went one year when I was in high school to a movie on Christmas and it was crazy. It was pumping. 

Riley: Yeah, that's a really big, it's an interesting difference. Are there many other holiday celebrated or it's Christmas kind of the 

Hannah: Christmas is definitely the big one. living in Birmingham, there's a lot of diversity and stuff. And there are a lot of different religions and, and there's like a big Muslim population as well. Um, but as a whole in the country, um, [00:14:00] Halloween. A newer thing that they're doing. Everybody that I've ever talked to about Halloween here is like, oh yeah, it's like getting a little bit more popular here.

It's definitely, it's nothing like, in the US where like, you know, Halloween decorations pop up. What in like August or September? Um, it definitely seems like an afterthought and we get like eight trick-or-treaters every year and all of the kids' dresses, something like really scary. Like, you don't really get like a cute costume or like, you know, they all have like face paint. Fake blood and stuff. But then we have, bonfire night as well, which is about the gunpowder plot. The remember, remember the fifth, November that thing. So that obviously we don't have the 4th of July. We don't celebrate independence. So that's like when you have all the fireworks and bonfires, obviously, we might go to like a little fair, like there might be like food trucks [00:15:00] or, you know, something like that.

Um, and then remembrance day, which is the 11th of November celebrating the end of, is it world war one? But that's a big, that's a big deal as well. And like everybody wears a poppy for like a week leading up to it. And, um, we went out to a shop on remembrance Sunday and they wouldn't open the door. Because the like moment there's like a nationwide moment of silence at 11:00 AM. And so they wouldn't open the doors, which they would normally open at 11 on the Sunday. They waited until that was over. So I thought that was kind of interesting because it coincides with veteran's day in the U S but you don't really get much. I don't know. I feel like veterans day is like an excuse for sales. I don't know. Boxing day, which is the 26th of December. Is also really big. And, um, yeah, so people have the day off for that and then they would [00:16:00] have the day off for new year's day as well.

Riley: and you were right. It remembrance day is the day that world war II world war one ended. Sorry.

Roni: Google search for 

Riley: that little Googling. Google also tells me that it's also armistice day to remember the people who've died in wars around the world. 

Hannah: Oh, okay. 

Riley: I think that's actually something that I miss about, um, being in school is because my has always did a big, a big veteran's day.

A big veteran's day thing, like a big ceremony and they would invite veterans from our town to be honored. And, um, so I really, I really loved that day at school. It was, um, just really. Special to me. And so I think that's something I kind of miss about being in school every year is because that was something that was, it felt like there was, that was a day and we celebrated it.

And now as an adult, I feel like it, um, it just, it just goes by a bit quickly and with, with less importance that I think it should have. So 

Hannah: yeah, it definitely feels a bit [00:17:00] more solemn and like everybody just kind of acknowledges it. Like I said, a lot of people will get like plastic poppies that they'll wear on their lapel, like all week long.

And, there's signs up. Um, I think it's like lest we forget or something like that is what they say. And so it just kind of like acknowledges a bit more the sacrifice and, and that sort of thing. 

Riley: When it sounds like unity too, like your everyone's on the same page, everyone's feeling the weight of like what that actually means, because it is so important. Um, I think that passing over it really quickly can just feel like we're not on the same. We're not all so thankful for the sacrifices that people made for us to be where we are.

Hannah: So, yeah, 

Roni: so I was telling Riley before we started recording. Um, when I was studying abroad in Spain, the, one of the things that they celebrate is January 6th, which is the day of three Kings. Um, and it's like celebrating the three Kings that came and gave gifts to Jesus. [00:18:00] Is that something that is celebrated at all in the UK?

Yeah, it's not. It's not a big deal here, obviously, but I just remember that, like in Spain they do like a procession and stuff related to it and, um, kind of like similar to it's like a small scale Semana Santa it's, like they do like a parade that like lasts the whole night kind of thing. 

Hannah: Oh, cool. When were you in Spain? Over new year's Eve? 

Roni: No, I wasn't. I, uh, I think I might've been back in the United States for new year's Eve. I think I flew back on like the 30th or something to the U S for a weeks. 

Hannah: Yeah. 'cause I did. I wrote a Christmas trivia game the other night and, um, it had some, like, Um, other countries traditions. And it said one of them was to eat 12 grapes at midnight, like as the clock times or something like that. I'd never heard of that before. 

Roni: It wouldn't surprise me. 

Riley: That sounds really fun, but that's [00:19:00] a perfect segue into talking about holiday food. Which is, you know, the good stuff. It's what we're here for.

Right. Um, so what would be a traditional holiday meal, in the UK for you guys for Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas day dinner, you can pick whichever one is the one we highlight over there

Hannah: I think it's Christmas day. I don't know what people normally do for Christmas Eve. Um, but Christmas day, I have like a roast lunch probably.

Um, and they would do a Turkey. So, um, I was talking to my husband about it earlier tonight and I was like, what do you have with the Turkey? Because his family usually that's like roast beef or. But he was like, oh, all the trimmings. And I'm like, yeah, but what are the trimmings? Because clearly the trimmings to me with a Turkey dinner or all our Thanksgiving food that has like sugar and marshmallows, I can like, you know, all that stuff.

Um, so he said it would be like roast [00:20:00] potatoes and then roast vegetables, which would be like parsnips and carrots and other root vegetables. And then. Some kind of green, so like cabbage or buttons, sprouts or something like that. Um, gravy, I dunno what else. They sell cranberry sauce in a jar. So I guess that's the thing here as well. So yeah, it would be a big Turkey dinner in the middle of the day, I think would be typical. Christmas fair here. 

Riley: So you guys, do you guys do this at your house or do you tend to be a bit more like American Christmas at your house? Or how do you guys do it? 

Hannah: When we, so we alternate, we try to alternate Christmases, here in the us. So because the first year that I lived here, we stayed here. I was really homesick. So we. Did it a lot, a bit more of like my family's traditions rather than his families. So typically what we do [00:21:00] now, we've just kind of kept doing it on the years that we've been here.

Um, we stay home for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning and make what my mom always makes her Christmas morning breakfast. And then we go up to his parents' house and they do like the big roast dinner and his. Extended family would come as well. 

Roni: What does your mom make on the same page? 

Hannah: So my mom makes these cream cheese bread. That's like a, it's like a sweet dough and then there's like a cream cheese filling and, um, they're so good. Oh my gosh. And then she makes mushroom pie. Which is basically like a quiche I guess, um, heavy on the mushroom so, and she also makes a grits pie, but I don't make that cause I am not a fan of grits.

And then a bucks fizz, which is British for mimosa, but apparently it's actually slightly different because the bucks fizz would be like [00:22:00] half and half, whereas a mimosa, I think it's technically like a third champagne and two thirds orange juice. So. bucks fizz is obviously the way to go.

Riley: I've never spent Christmas, um, out of the country, but I've spent Christmas with friends before. And it's always fun to see and hear what other people eat for Christmas morning. Cause we, um, my family actually always does like a charcuterie board with cheeses and fruits and crackers and things like that. But I had a friend one time, we spent Christmas together and she, her mom always makes this like sausage and cream cheese pie thing. And it's Crescent rolls in the bottom and then sausage and then cream cheese, and you bake in the oven. And so when you refer first talking about cream cheese, that's where my mind went is to this thing that she made.

It's just always fun because everybody's family does something so different. Um, and it kind of varies wildly what people do. So it's, it's so fun to hear what people do.

Hannah: I love finding out what, what people typically [00:23:00] do for Christmas foods, because it's like everyone. The like they're so like set in their ways, right? They're like, this is Christmas dinner. Christmas breakfast or whatever it is. Cause it's something only have once a year. And so, yeah. And then it's just all different. What do you guys usually have for Christmas breakfast or dinner? 

Roni: Well, normally we would have, um, my mom will make like Swedish pancakes, which are just like, they're like thin kind of crepe, like pancakes. I'm not exactly sure. What is different about the recipe from a crepe? They are just like slightly thicker, but I think it's like the mixture, the number of like eggs in the batter or something is different between the two recipes. Not really sure. Um, but this year, my mom, I just talked to my mom on the phone this morning about it, and we're not doing a brunch this year.

We're doing Christmas lunch instead, and she's going to make chicken pot pie. So we're switching. Uh, I think she just wanted to do something that was a little easier. Cause the problem with making pancakes, particularly Swedish pancakes, they're very, [00:24:00] it's like very hands-on, you know, like the person who's cooking, then it's not enabled like enjoy everybody else's company very much. So I think she was looking for something where she's like, I'm just going to put the chicken pot pie in the oven and then we can just eat what it's done. 

Riley: So I already mentioned that we do the charcuterie spread and my dad goes crazy. My dad loves, my dad loves cheese. He loved cheese my whole life. I think it was his excuse to like capitalize on it. And so he handles it. That's what we have for breakfast. Um, and then we kind of like munch on that through the rest of the day. And then my mom usually makes a big dinner. That's usually this Italian casserole called cavatini, um, I think we actually eat that for Christmas Eve.

I can't believe, I can't remember suddenly my brain's breaking right now, but, sometimes it's Thanksgiving part two, and it's really just like a Turkey and all the trimmings, again, um, Casserole that she makes called Cavatina, which is like sausage and pepperoni and pepperoncini peppers, and mushrooms and pasta.

And it's really delicious. Growing up, my dad would always get glass bottle [00:25:00] Coca-Cola. Um, Because you could find it, like you could just easily find around the holidays and it may, we never used to drink soda as children. And so it was like Christmas day, we got to have a glass bottle Coca-Cola um, we stopped doing that probably in high school, as we all started to veer away from drinking beverages like that very often. And so now we do Topo, Chico, uh, water, like mineral sparkling, mineral water, um, which is equally wonderful in my opinion. So it's kind of silly and different, but it's what we do. It's very delicious. 

Roni: Oh, that's kind of fun to like, do something that's special. I mean, maybe there are some people who stock topo Topo, Chico in their house, but we are not those people.

And so it's fun to just have, something that comes in like a, a special bottle, you know, it'd be like, this is our special drink. Uh, my mom wants me to make mulled cider this year for Christmas as well. So I'm going to be trying my hand at that. See how it goes.

Hannah: I made mulled cider. Are you making alcoholic or just like apple?

Roni: Well, I was going to do, I was going to make the [00:26:00] spice cider and the mulled spice cider. And then like alcohol is optional. Riley actually told me about, uh, she went to. Like a bonfire at a friend's house. That's probably been like a month ago. Right. Um, and they did mulled cider with triple sec in it instead of bourbon or rum.

And so kind of like the like orange flavors that are in triple sec to compliment the cider. So I thought I would maybe buy a couple of different things and then give it a little bit of like, you can, you can choose what you would like 

Hannah: make mulled cider every year. Like starting in September. I usually make it a couple of times a year because he can't. Like apple cider anywhere here, apples or cider to British people is like alcoholic cider. And you basically can't get like mulled cider anywhere. So I make it and we drank it with, um, ginger beer and yeah, like bourbon or whiskey or something. And so we warm up the ciderand then, uh, ginger [00:27:00] beer, like room temperature ginger beer the triple sec from.

My friend gave us a little bottle of homemade gin that she made and she called it Christmas crumble. And it's like apple cinnamon and raspberry flavors. I think. So I was thinking about making a cocktail with apple cider and, um, in that gin. 

Roni: That sounds yummy. Um, okay. So I have seen on your Instagram account that you like to set up a hot chocolate station in your house for Christmas. It's really cool. It's like, tell me all the things that you put on it, because I don't even know. It's just like this beautiful array of things. 

Hannah: So I have like a T like a three tiered, I dunno, serving tray or something. Um, it, my I've been doing this for years since, before I even moved. And it has evolved from like two Mason jars of like marshmallows and cocoa powder [00:28:00] to like now there's three tiered structure.

So currently we have obviously the hot chocolate mix and then some like hot chocolate. Sticks that you would just like mix through the milk or water. But then we have, Kirsch, which is cherry Latour. Bailey's, Cointreau orange liqour an amaretto, which is almonds liqour. And then we have, those, like, you know, those chocolate oranges.

I think my, my mom's looking at they're really hard to find the US and they are you can get them anywhere anytime of year. So they're amazing. So we have those needs and like shave them into the hot chocolate and then like put some Cointreau in there. So good. We've got marshmallows, cinnamon and nutmeg, different types of chocolate, like chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and some dark chocolate.

And then we also have. Cayenne pepper and, um, espresso powder, because the [00:29:00] express, like the coffee flavor makes it the chocolate, uh, way more rich. So, yeah, and then some like other accoutrements, like little chocolates and little cookies and stuff. 

Riley: Okay, that sounds great. That sounds incredible. I think you should write it all down and like your little hot chocolate bar. Um, and so we can share that with our listeners because they might want to recreate that. 

Roni: That would be really fun. Yeah. 

Hannah: Well, and then also, I always forget because they're in the fridge, but we have whipped cream and, um, I make a gingerbread. And so I put that, I use that in cocktails as well, but that it's so good in the hot chocolate.

Like it tastes like a liquid chocolate gingerbread amazing. 

Riley: That's all Roni. And I'll be right over. We're going to go home.

It's Reese, it's a research trip. We're going to come over, uh, investigate the side of this hot chocolate bar and, and other [00:30:00] things like the markets.

Roni: Well, Hannah, do you feel like there's anything that you miss from like American Christmases or, anything that you wish that they did in the UK that you really liked doing in America? 

Hannah: I think the, the first thing that came to mind about like missing something from the U S is like all of the crazy Christmas decorations that people's houses. I don't know. Roni, if you remember the Spangler house growing up off of was that Longs Peak. I babysat for the family that moved in after, I guess the Spangler's moved out and they were like, there are outlets everywhere because they had, they had this massive house and like thethis huge front yard.

And they had every Christmas decoration, like it's like they went and bought out like everything at home Depot every year. It was just, and you would never get anything like that here. We walked around the neighborhood the other day to look at lights and [00:31:00] literally the best one. They had like lights, not just on the roof, but like also down the sides and around the windows.

And then they had like a little like sleigh and reindeer on top of their like lower roof. And I was like, that's it that's the best one. So that's definitely like the main thing. It's just not as much of a thing here. We, I mean, obviously I miss my family, so maybe that's the main thing, but, um, then we would also go skiing there's I mean, Colorado skiing compared to, I don't even know if people, if you can ski in England. I think they all like go to Europe, they winter in Europe. So that's kind of the main things I think. 

Riley: Is there any traditions from your husband's family that, um, Have like adopted and you feel like we are missing out in the, in America or in the United States, because we're not doing this thing.

Hannah: I would say that the main thing that Americans are [00:32:00] missing out on is boxing day, because a lot of people have to go back to work on the 26th. And, and obviously a lot of people have to work on the 25th as well. Um, so Christmas day and boxing day, they're like national bank holidays, so everything's closed.

Um, but I think boxing day, you could probably go to a movie and like shops are open as well, but like every, unless you work in like service industry, everybody's off work and you just chill. Like, it's just like a, it's like Christmas part two. And I think I'm just feel like everybody needs, needs a boxing day in their life 

Riley: I've heard this from friends of mine, who are married to one of the people in the marriage is British and they live in the us and they will have like big feasts and they have like special foods they always eat. And, um, and so I've heard this, I've heard it's a really big day that we're missing out on celebrating and.just another [00:33:00] reason to be together and eat yummy food Yeah. 

Hannah: And also I feel like it also makes the holiday because it like elongate them. It makes them a little bit more chill, like when you're married and you've got to go to like, everybody's house, you have an extra day to do that. So like for us, we typically. Go up to my in-laws in the afternoon, on Christmas day and then stay for boxing day.

Rather than being like, oh, well we can't be home on Christmas Eve. Cause you've got to be with family. And so like, you know, let's all pack up and we've got to see everybody in two days and stuff like that. So it just, it makes it a little bit more relaxed.

Riley: I really love my family too. And I, I love the getting to see everybody. It's a reason to see everybody, but I'm with you. There's an element of, it feels very hurried. Um, so I think we could all take a little bit of a step back and do things a little bit more slowly. You can still see all the people and do all the things, but just trying to do it with less, um, less just move, move, move through, all the things.

Hannah: Yeah. Yeah. [00:34:00] That's all the boxes. Well, the other thing is my in-laws make these roasted potatoes, but they cook in goose fat and they are so good. They're so good. That's like the best thing. And it's not just a Christmas thing. It's it would be like an anytime roast dinner thing, which they would do like people. Well, some people have a roast dinner every Sunday. But, um, th they're just like the best words of the data you'll ever have. There's no good. 

Riley: Can you, do you think you could share a recipe with us? 

Hannah: I think so. I don't know if my husband has his parents' recipe, but he made some of the other day, they came down to visit us. And, his mom like got all choked up cause he made a roast dinner and she was like, you're my son. And you're making me

his kids potatoes, um, high compliment. So I'll see if I can, if I can get the recipe from him. I think it's one of those situations where. Not written down. It's like every [00:35:00] British person knows how to do it. Okay. 

Riley: Well, let's just give us a general direction to go and we can see what we can do to help you plow that. No recipe recipe.

Roni: So one last thing that we wanted to know about is if Christmas cookies are as big of a thing in the UK, I, I guess you guys call them Christmas biscuits, right?

Hannah: Yeah. Well, they do have cookies. They do have cookies here, but it. According to my husband would be like something. He would say that like ingredients for like a chocolate chip cookie.

Riley: So this is really good info we need to lean in here. So the difference is that with a cookie, you have. Like chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookie. So with a biscuit, you just call it a biscuit. Yeah. 

Roni: Does that mean that it's like a shortbread, like is a biscuit just like standard shortbread, kind of a cookie 

Hannah: kind of a shortbread biscuit, but then you also have digestive biscuits, which are kind of like, um, They're kind of like Graham crackers. That's like the closest thing.

I [00:36:00] don't know why they're called digestive biscuits. It's not very appetizing. And you, like, you would have it with like a cup of tea in the morning. It's weird. Um, they have like ginger snaps or ginger nuts. I think they call them. Maybe that's like a name brand, but if you do, either of you watch, um, the great British bake off, we do know how.

Like if it snaps and he's always like those American cookies just crumble, it's like, that's what you want. Like, you don't want to break your teeth on a cookie. They're not, I don't think Christmas cookies are as much of a thing here, but I have tried to incorporate Christmas cookies into my social circle.

And I got to tell you, people go crazy for sugar cookies because it isn't like the amount of sugar and butter in that recipe is they've just, they've never experienced it before and they just, they love it. And it just like you take, it's like a soft [00:37:00] bite and it crumbles in your mouth a little bit. And they're like, what is this?, this is so good. I'm like, this is what a cookie should be like. I'm sorry, Paul Hollywood. But you're wrong. 

Riley: I'm so proud of you for introducing this to your friends.

It's gotta be, you know, the American in me, which is I do like a soft cookie. Um, and I tend to not like them to be crunchy or know hard. And 

Roni: the only time I want a crunchy cookie is if I am gonna dip it in my coffee or something. So probably that's where it comes from is like they often eat their biscuits with tea, right?

Hannah: So I usually make. Uh, maybe like, I don't know, eight to 10 different types of Christmas cookies and distribute them to our friends and family. And they're all just like what, in this I'm like it sugar

and chocolate and butter and [00:38:00] yeah, there's definitely way sweeter than anything. Like, as, as you might assume, it's in a British stereotype. They're just, they're not as big on the sweets and the everything's just like slightly more bland. 

Roni: That's interesting. Cause I just, I guess I had never really thought about Christmas cookies, not being a thing in other places, because , in Spain while Christmas cookies, aren't a thing like marzipan pan is a really big thing. So I just figured like everybody had their quick Christmas like sweet thing that they did. But 

Hannah: so mince pies are really big. Um, and then like Christmas cake and Christmas pudding, which is like, like a sponge cake that has like dried fruit and like a Christmas pudding is like soaked and Brandy. You can get them aged, varying, uh, very various ages of the grocery stores. You can get like a, one-year like a six months, or [00:39:00] I think some people have even longer than. Um, but apparently like, it's one of those things where it's like, no one actually likes Christmas pudding, but you just do it and you, it, I don't know. But yeah. So I feel like they're like Christmas treats are aside from mince pies. Like they're a bit more cakey. Like Yule logs are big here that sort of. 

Riley: These are definitely things that I've learned on the great British bake off is that nobody actually eats those. And so a lot of the contestants don't even know how to make them, because it's just something that's always present at a party. Um, but it's not something that people really enjoy or make it's often purchased from somewhere else. 

Hannah: Yeah. It's, I've been this week. I've been like, so giddy because all of the Christmas party food is out at the grocery stores and it has like, like the grocery store brand. It has like different packaging at Christmas time.

It's like a little Christmasy, like label and stuff and I, yeah, they do. So they just have all these like little party foods out and like, yeah, [00:40:00] you would just buy your dessert, I think, unless you were. Like hardcore British person, you would probably, just buy our Christmas pudding or your Christmas cake or something like that.

Riley: Well, so what's your favorite thing, I guess just let's one last question for you. What's your very favorite thing about Christmas in the UK?

Hannah: I, one of my favorite traditions that we haven't done in a couple of years now is to go to the Nutcracker. Um, we we're totally those people who, because my husband has a tux and I would do like a rent, the runway, like gown dress. And we would be those people that are, like sitting next to people in jeans and like dress black tie.

Um, so that is definitely one of our favorites. And, uh, yeah, we, I guess the most British slash like Europeans slash big city thing that we do for christmas is that we get our Christmas tree from Ikea. Because you buy the 29 pound Christmas tree and you get a 20 pound voucher to use in the new year. [00:41:00] So it only cost nine pounds. And then we go back to Ikea and buy some new furniture. So, yeah, that's another one of our most cherished Christmas traditions. 

Riley: Wow. That is so fun. There's an Ikea down in Denver, but I have no idea if they sell Christmas trees. Yeah. 

Hannah: I don't know. I've never heard of Ikea doing it in the states. 

Roni: And they'd have a lot of competition with all of this. Like the random, like little tree stands and stuff, 

Hannah: so, I don't know where other people get their Christmas trees. Cause you don't really have, like, I feel like you pass them and they're there in like car parks and stuff all over in the US. 

Riley: Thanks for sharing your, your life and your holiday traditions with. 

Roni: this has been really fun. Thank you so much, Hannah. And, yeah, we just appreciate you taking the time to do this and, you know, helping us open our eyes to some different holiday traditions. 

Hannah: Yeah. It's been, it's been great. And, um, my son has been crying. Like 20 minutes and I haven't had to be the ones that go in to see,[00:42:00] 

Riley: oh man, you got a little mom break. Uh, okay. So to wrap up every episode of our podcast, we ask, um, me and Roni ask each other and we ask our interviewer, um, interviewee, what they've been eating lately that they've been really enjoying. It does not have to be Christmas-y or festive at all. Um, but what's the recipe you've been making and you might want to share with our listeners.

Hannah: So we, so my son right now is like really into rice. And so we have been having some different rice things, but there's this restaurant in Boulder that does, like sushi burritos and they do sushi burrito bowls as well. And so we kind of have like made a version of that. It's surprisingly, our son really, like, he didn't have like the raw fish, but he had, um, the shrimp tempura.

And so it has rice and then like, like a slaw without any. This [00:43:00] is the cole, you think the coals, the sauce part, like is this slaw without the cole

just dry cabbage in, carrot shredded, and then mashed avocado. Let's see what else from temper, uh, and, um, oh, temper a spirit. And then we put like fresh sushi salmon on it as well. And then like, you make like a Siracha Mayo and my baby loved it. Like he, I mean, he, yeah, he really likes anything. That's like lightly fried, but, and rice. He like gobbled it up,

Riley: oh, that sounds really good. What about you, Roni?

Roni: Actually last night I made a recipe that I saved from your plan to eat account Riley, and it was a beef and mushroom carbonara [00:44:00] made with, um, Spaghetti squash instead of like regular noodles, it's a auto-immune protocol recipe. So it's like allergen friendly and all the different aspects.

And I didn't necessarily make it because of the allergen friendliness. I just saw it and it sounded really good. After we ate it. My husband was like, I think I would prefer it with a regular spaghetti noodles rather than the spaghetti squash, but I just wanted to like make it how the actual recipe came for the first time to see how we did enjoy it. And I really liked it with the spaghetti squash, but I understand that maybe it's not his favorite thing, but it was really yummy and I will definitely be making it again. 

Riley: So yeah, had my in-laws in town and my father-in-law is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. And so, I tend to try to make recipes that I know he'll really like. And so I found this recipe for, um, It's like roasted chicken thighs and roasted little baby potatoes, with this like really yummy Parmesan cream sauce, and you put it all in one pan and you bake in the oven and then your it's got some spinach in it too. It's kind of a one pan meal. Um, it took a bit of [00:45:00] time to cook just to get those potatoes nice and soft, but it was really delicious and the little cream sauce is just yummy on everything. And so it was really, really delicious meal. So I'll have to share it. 

Roni: Well, I think that wraps things up. Hannah, thank you so much for joining us today. 

Hannah: Thanks for having me.

Roni: And for our podcast listeners, if you need to contact me or Riley, you can use our brand new email, which is