“It’s not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”Michael Frayn, Clockwise
On the basis that it’s always the hope that kills you, I’ve already accepted that we won’t be travelling to France for Covid Crapmas.
Which made me think about all the very few times I’ve spent Grossmas in England in recent years. Not many. I remember being in Nottingham the year my youngest kid was born. Easy to remember: 20 years ago. That year, I tried to do roast lamb for dinner. It wasn’t very good.
I’m a bit shit at the traditional roast, largely because I’m squeamish, but also because it’s a lot of fuss for something that takes a few minutes to inhale. I’ve avoided the traditional roast turkey, so I’ve not had to deal with that dry horror. For many years, the Fatmas meal was the province of others, in France. So there was the year my mother-in-law did a Goose, only I forgot it was a goose and because she carved it in the kitchen, I decided I was eating lean and tender roast beef. Once you’ve convinced your brain it’s eating beef, you taste beef.
The roast I’ve most often returned to is the good old capon, a fat chicken which tastes better than both chicken and turkey. But capons aren’t a thing you can easily get in the UK, so I don’t know what I’ll do this year. Along the way, I’ve tried various solutions: porcetta, gammon, boneless two bird roast, seagull, lark, fat dragonfly.
None were quite the thing, although I do very good roast potatoes which in their time have wowed the whole of France. You can’t get Maris Pipers there, you see. Other shocks I have served the French relations have included carrot and swede mash, cauliflower cheese, and – just once – a steaming dark dollop of Exmas Pudding.
Given that I’m not bothered about most of the traditional fare, I really don’t mind not having the latter. In fact, it’s just one of a whole list of traditional foods I avoid over the holiday. Mince pies? Nope.
I’m still making my mind up about what I’ll do this year, for our sad and lonely Covidmas. Maybe some chicken Paupiettes, something that can be cooked quickly and without too much trauma.