Feasts, family and friends

December 25, 2013 § 2 Comments

One of my daughters walked into the kitchen at about noon today and said: “Mmmm, Mom. Now the house smells like Christmas.” And I knew exactly what she meant. Perhaps it sounds boring to those who like to ‘tweak’ Christmas dishes, or do ‘twists’ on old classics, but in my home, on Christmas Day, you’ll get pretty much the same thing for lunch every year.

It’s actually quite a simple meal: roast lamb, a gammon, roast potatoes and an assortment of vegetables and plenty of gravy. There must be cauliflower cheese. And if a vegetarian friend is joining us, there’d be something extra for them that felt like a main course. For dessert there’s Christmas pudding and trifle, and since my kids came along, a chocolate Yule ‘log’ that is always devoured with gusto. And then we stagger off to the couch for a cuppa and a chat while the dishwasher chugs away in the kitchen.

I might change the veggies slightly from year to year, but essentially, the meal stays the same. Because for me, it’s about tradition. I grew up eating roast lamb for Christmas, being a good boeremeisie. My husband grew up eating turkey, but he’s not fond of it, so we’ve defaulted to lamb. And for me the smell of lamb roasting when I get home from church on Christmas morning, combined with the spices in the steamed pudding, is what Christmas smells like. Anything else would just not feel like Christmas to me.

I love the ceremonial carrying out of the dishes, the sudden hush as we pause to say grace, the snapping of crackers, and the clink of forks on plates as we eat together, a motley assortment of family and friends gathered at my table for a celebration of peace and goodwill. I love the chatter as the kitchen is restored (mostly) to order, the scolding of dogs as they try to scavenge a little Christmas for themselves, the faint tinkling of wine bottles as the recycling is carried out, the weariness in my back and legs as I finally settle down on the sofa after lunch.

It’s hard work, and it takes a fair amount of planning and preparation, but I love doing it every year, and I wouldn’t swop it for anything. Happy Christmas to all who celebrate it, wherever you may be.


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§ 2 Responses to Feasts, family and friends

  • Kit says:

    Happy Christmas to you too!
    We also love tradition and have the same meal every year, varying only between hot and cold/lukewarm, depending on the weather. My kids would love roast potatoes every year, but on hot days like we had this year I draw the line and we have baby potatoes and salad. Turkey with stuffing, sausages wrapped in bacon, and gammon are standard, as are stripey jellies, summer pudding and Christmas pudding – sometimes extra puddings join the throng and sometimes I rise to bread sauce, but essentially Christmas smells of gammon and Christmas cake.

    And the leftovers on Boxing Day taste even better for some reason.

    We had an extra drama between courses this year, a bush fire on the farm, next door which I’ve just blogged about, and pray doesn’t become a tradition!


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