Friday, 25 December 2009

The perfect Christmas dinner

In 2002, when the opportunity came to release ourselves from Christmas past, I grabbed it in both arms, clung on tight, and made a vow to the firmament that we were never going to do Christmas ever again.

Christmas dinner was already a reminder of death, solitude, and stolen furniture.

It could only be followed by a New Year Eve celebrated with a glass of pickling vinegar.

On that latter point: I do not bear grudges, but not one of those four responsible family members assembling that New Year Eve all those years ago in the fallen-down pile in windswept Northumberland, actually thought to buy a bottle of wine. Leather thongs and pink flippers for the all out gay night down the local town, Yes; Celebration New Year plonk, No.

So the very first year we could, Dig and I decided to do Christmas on our terms.

For me, that meant do as we damn well pleased on the actual day, get away with what evil I could all around it, and feed Guinness to the triplets to knock them out before midnight.

It was not quite a united decision. Dig said even though we were now to stay at home for Christmas, we should cook a special meal to mark the moment. I said 'What? We just agreed we would do as we liked, and doing as I liked meant I'm not cooking.'

I refused to cook. Dig refused to cook. I refused to pay for someone else to cook. Dig refused to pay for someone else to cook.

We stared it out.

And so was born the baked potato compromise.

It is a perfect solution. It bears no awkward memories, no obligation, and no cooking, except to kick the oven door shut with my right foot.

Further benefits include relative-proofing, in complete confidence that no-one will desire to come and share such a feast; it can be timed for readiness any time you like; and it is no problem with the vegetarians and meat eaters alike, thanks to a delicious assortment of tinned and packaged topping.

For Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, the relief in the first few years was palpable.

Here was a mama who was forcefeeding them spinach and celery and smuggling past their gullets all manner of brassica on a daily suffering basis. Then nirvana comes once a year in the shape of a tin of tomatoes slapped down in front of a jacket potato and the instruction to get on with it.

Admittedly, the joy and expectation might be wearing thin.

But girls, you have to know, that this is mama's no cooking day. This is baked potato day. It leaves mama in perfect freedom to enjoy the other civilised Christmas traditions of sherry, white wine, red wine, port, baileys.

And no-one should expect this Christmas tradition to change.


sharon said...

There seem to be a plethora of toppings and accompaniments to cheer up the humble spuds. I used to enjoy cooking the whole catastrophe with all the trimmings when we were in the UK but not quite so much now.

How's the hangover? I assume you have a humdinger if you truly indulged in the complete festive alcohol range lol!

Finally off-loading younger son later today, elder departed a couple of days ago, so will have more time on the computer and will e-mail.

Heather said...

do you know, i rather love the idea of not having a no-cooking day. a no fighting over getting small people to eat something other than yoghurt and biscuits day. It sounds like heaven. I just fed mine on chocolate instead which, in hindsight after the house had been turned upside down and covered in sticky finger prints by two chocolate high monsters, perhaps wasn't the best idea in the world.

Grit said...

on the toppings front: tin of tuna, sweetcorn, smoked salmon, lentils, tomatoes, salad and cheeses. something for everyone. the alcohol content is all in the pacing, eating and timing, sharon ;)

heather, i have to totally restrict chocolate. or watch sane kids flip into trolls. why does it have that effect?