I can now soberly report that the practically zero effort Christmas dinner was well received. Nothing wrong with it, and better than that: not as disappointing as previous ones where heaven and earth were moved beforehand.
I did peel and chop my own carrots and sweetheart cabbage, and I did eschew the bag of brown turkey gravy at the BP. There are some depths to which even I cannot sink
a) buying their Wild Bean Coffee – no matter how much they beg me to
b) buying pre-made brown poultry gravy in a clear pouch *slight retch*
One of my most simple pleasures in life is boiling up a chicken carcass to make stock. I love picking out the bones and the gristle and the remaining skin and bits of meat to give to the dog, after thoroughly steaming up the kitchen. And I love the way the stock can sometimes turn quite opaque, and how the liquid turns to a golden jelly when it’s cooled. So, I would be happy to have you believe that I always have quantities of frozen chicken stock (in ice cube trays, if the prophet Nigella is to be followed on the matter) to call on for Christmas gravy.
The Pimping bit is chef’s secret…
Yesterday, when I was not buying BP gravy, but I was in the garage buying some other bits, I was happy to be served by the fella with waist-length hair. I prefer him, or Dan who reminds me of another Dan I know, to patiently bear my messing up the card machine for the umpteenth time. One of the women, Charlotte, is the most earnest coffee and pastries flogger ever and I am a bit intimidated by her; she makes me feel I am only a heartbeat away from caving in to her demands and ordering four coffees and twenty doughnuts. Anyway, yesterday I greeted yer man seasonally, to be polite, and asked if he minded working on The Day. Not at all, he said, it gets me out of things. Presumably pimping the gravy being one of them. Then he said
Bah Humbug and gave me this.
Now that’s a quality Christmas transaction.
It used to be that I did make a bit of an effort with the Christmas dinner. I was cured of that by the Kelly Bronze turkey I dragged home from Borough Market on Christmas Eve with my customary Christmas respiratory complaint about seven years ago. That year I had made a pilgrimage to order it a week or so before, and then forced myself out to collect it in freezing conditions not compatible with my consumptive state. The only reason I made it home was the restorative shot of single malt at the butcher’s counter, with the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen for company; that was before they sent him off to Israel.
Anyway, I somehow heaved the mahoosive bird home and, in an even worse state of health on Christmas Day in the morning, was so sickened by the smell of the cooking bird I swore I’d never again a) travel that far for a bird b) pay that much for a bird c) defend the dark, free-range leg meat no-one wanted.
So between now and then I’ve dodged the issue by eating elsewhere mainly. I did do a Christmas dinner here about four years ago. I think there were crackers, something I realise I have forgotten to provide today, but who needs a party hat and compass anyway?
So that’s the preamble, here’s the confession: the whole Christmas confection has come from under this star (apart from the carrots which Alan Bartlett & Sons kindly grew for me). Note, this is not any old BP Christmas, this is an M&S Christmas. Ho ho ho.
There’s a epilogue to this sorry tale, eventuated by my not being able to resist popping into the BP Garage this very day to buy twiglets and fresh orange juice. I’ll see if I can relate that after the Queen’s Speech…
It seems to be the rule in this house that if there is work going on in one room, there will be uncontrollable overspill into the others.
The dynamic duo of plumbers are back this morning; look what they left overnight and they weren’t even working in this room.
On another Groundhog Day note I just popped into the garage to buy a sack of coffee beans and some petrol.
“All together?” was the opening gambit. I was on my own and yes, shockingly, I did want to combine the two items on the same receipt.
They don’t let you away so easily in that gaff: “Do you want a hot drink with that this morning?”