Sunday, 27 December 2009

Food Glorious Food

All together now...

Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood - 
Cold jelly and custard!
Pease pudding and saveloys!

etc., etc.

Christmas and New Year.  Whatever your beliefs, so long as you are from the Western world and fortunate enough, then Christmas is, amongst your personal beliefs and traditions, a time to eat and drink.  More specifically time to eat and drink stuff that you don't eat the rest of the year.  And why don't we eat it the rest of the year?  I don't know.  I like turkey but even that isn't as widely available between January and November, does Bernard Matthews take a holiday for ten months of the year?  In some cases the very name of the food suggests you can't get it in summer, say.  Christmas pudding a fine example, and a superb food yet we decide to eat this heaviest and stodgiest of puddings after the heaviest and stodgiest main course ever invented.   Then of course there is Christmas cake.  In June, you could happily buy an iced fruit cake in Sainsburys (other supermarkets are available) but in the run up to Christmas they will stick a wee icing holly leaf on it, bang the price up 25% and call it Christmas cake.  I'm sure very few of my readers care particularly about sell by dates - if indeed your eyesight is good enough to read them - but shopping in advance for Christmas fayre way back in November I couldn't help but notice swathes of blatantly Christmas products with sell by dates of, say, 12th December.  Think mince pies.

Then there is the 'you're eating what exactly' question.  One of my particular Christmas only things is piccalilli.  I know you can get it all year but I only tend to partake at Christmas.  Allow me to make you privy to a conversation I had with step-daughter Beth, who is 12, regarding this particular delicacy:

"Beth, do you like picalilli?"
"Well it's a kind of pickle"
"Never 'eard of it.  Wass innit"
"It's pickled veg"
"Well, Cauliflower, gherkins and onions pickled in mustard type stuff"

At this point I cut my losses, I realise even I don't find my own description appealing.  Cook a good roast dinner with cauliflower and I will leave the cauliflower at the side of the plate.  Take me to McDonalds (other nasty American burger 'restaurants' are available) and buy me a burger (actually, I'd rather you didn't, but if you did), I would meticulously pick the gherkins out.  Yet for a couple of weeks of the year I will eat this montage with crackers and mouldy cheese, all of course washed down with port, and thoroughly enjoy it.

Which, only slightly tangentially, brings me on to another point.  Does it really matter what is in our food if it tastes good?  Many years ago, after drinking a couple of pints of 6X at the New County Hotel long before it became a swingers club, honest, I used to go for an Indian along with a couple of friends of mine, we shall call them Dan and Matt; after all that was there names.  Dan and I would, almost exclusively, order a meat phall, Matt would have Chicken and chips, he was never one for curry.  This particular Indian was closed down for serving dog in the curry.  Should this make me feel bad or squeamish?  If it should it doesn't.  It was a good curry and so far as I can tell not mis-sold.  Had they described it as lamb curry, they would be lying; but no it was meat.  I always assumed goat or some such but does it really matter that it was alsatian?  Dogs are made of meat aren't they?

Anyhow, it is now two days after Christmas.  At the moment I find it hard to believe I will feel in the slightest bit hungry before June but that's gluttony for you.

1 comment:

  1. Best keep quiet about the dog curry when Shaz is about!