I thought this Christmas was going to be a hard one for us - the first year on our own, but now i feel myself going with the flow. The food is fairly organised, coming out of the freezer far quicker than it went in. It's amazing what vast quantity a family of eight can consume when put to the test. And Christmas is always a test of fortitude. What teenager, however hung-over is going to look his mum in the face and refuse to eat her lovingly crafted game casserole? Sometimes this means a stay in the microwave and the staggering of sittings as one after the other fits the food around their dynamic social lives. Sometimes this is plain annoying, usually i remember how i was as a teenager and make allowances. Maybe it is because of this that i am paid the highest accolade: "This has been the best Christmas ever". Odd, perhaps, but i know that the sentiment behind it has everything to do with this Christmas being laid-back and flexible; with people able to do the things they want to and have the Christmas they choose. Sometimes, as in the past, we place high demands and expectations on people at Christmas and require them to be and do the things that fit in with our view of what should be. Yet Christmas is for everyone and the art of giving is in the thinking of what the receiver would really appreciate. As in presents, as in life.
Today we had some very fine Stilton and Asparagus sausages from Chatsworth farm shop with Chips and mushrooms and a piece of rump steak. I'm quite addicted to Heston's oak smoked salt from Waitrose and the kids take note. My second son will always say "i'll have whatever your having" because he knows he won't be disappointed. My ex- used to have food envy too: whatever he chose from a menu when we went out, somehow he always thought mine was better. I always found this a strange concept to get my head around. After all, surely you would always choose whatever sounded nicest to you on the menu, and what you fancied at the time?
I see you plumped for bangers and mash too; and add all those jars of pickles found in your stocking. We have some particularly nice ones this year. I love caramelized onion and a wonderful fig relish by Tracklements which was just made for anything involving goats' cheese.
I think 2012 is going to be a better year for us - i certainly hope so -. Maybe it is time to move on, literally and mentally, and create a new life for ourselves. I hope you're having a wonderful Christmas and look forward to a bright and beautiful New Year,