Monday December 25, 2006
I tend these days to cook only one large joint a year so it has to be a good ‘un. Graham did us fine this year with a massive turkey breast joint—some twelve pounds in weight—and I made every effort to tease out the drops of flavour and succulence from it. Rubbed salted butter over it and then laid a complete cover of streaky bacon strips over the top. Four hours in a moderate oven, the last three nestling under a piece of loose oven foil, and then fifteen minutes ‘rest’ before I carved. The result was pretty good, though I says it as shouldn’t.
“My goodness,” Graham said. “This is excellent. How did you manage to get it to taste so good?”
“Thanks. Just bacon and careful cooking. Nothing special.”
“Well, it tastes special.”
The veggies were rather tasty, too, and the garnish, and the gravy… and lingonberry jelly instead of cranberry. I’d plated the meal at the counter British-style because our dining table is too small for lots of serving dishes, and had opted to use the middle-size of dinner plate rather than the giant Denby ones we’ve always used in the past. Truth to tell, we don’t tend to pig out as much as we used to, both of us preferring a sufficiency rather than a surfeit. Even so, when we pushed our plates back, content, there was no room for Christmas Pudding.
“We really ought to try,” I said, unconvincingly.
“Nah. You make a nice pot of tea and I’ll set this lot to washing. Then we’ll watch a bit of TV before siesta time.”
Aided by a large black plastic sack and the wonders of the modern dishwasher, the counters were clear and wiped down in no time, leaving only the remains of the massive joint, cooling down under a wrapping of foil.
“You do realise that we’re going to have to eat all that,” I said.
“Oh, we’ll manage it. Not now, though. I’m full.”
“So am I.”
I’ve no recollection of what it was we watched on TV before eyelids grew heavy and sleep beckoned. Last I remember is the gentle whir-swish of the dishwasher as it cleaned the pots, pans and dishes quietly in the kitchen on the floor below.
We spent the evening sipping wine from New Zealand and dipping into the fruit bowl. Oh, we fixed ourselves a supper of cold cuts, salad and a little cheese but it was more for honour’s sake than necessity. Mind you, that’s what, at heart, the festival is about. We’ve weathered the Solstice, the days are growing longer, and there’s hope in the world once more. It’s proper to celebrate that with a feasting.
I played with my new toy, of course. That’s what blokes are supposed to do on Christmas evening, after all. It’s a Sony Handycam DCR-HC24E palm-sized video camera, aimed at equipping me to join the videoblog generation. An astonishing piece of technology that’s going to give me hours and hours of fun, and a steep learning curve of the challenging kind. Not today, though. Do you know, Sony are too mean to include a trial video tape in the package? The small ones cost pennies, especially when bought in bulk. Wouldn’t you think it an obvious thing to complete the pack? But no, Sony, for all their billions of profit, pinch the last possible penny and send their handycams out with a disappointment in every box.
Graham, the giver of the gift, was incandescent with fury. He’d done a massive amount of research to select the right model for me and nowhere does it mention the omission until you open the pack and find a small one-liner stating that the video cassette is not included.
I was happy enough, though. Charged the battery. Read the manual. Set the date and time. Wandered about the house peering through the viewfinder and pretending to be a famous cinematographer. I’ll pop out tomorrow, braving the sales, and grab a videocassette so’s I can continue learning how to use the thing.
As it was, I’d had quite enough fun for one day. Even Christmas day.