I’m always on the lookout for further hints and tips for cooking the perfect food for Christmas Day so I watch the relevant programmes when I can.
A couple of days ago the chef started his Christmas Day Menu with his ‘Special Breakfast’: smoked salmon on waffles (batter made from scratch and cooked in his state of the art waffle maker) with a perfectly poached egg and topped with a herb enhanced creme fraiche dressing.
I couldn’t help but notice the absence of children in the film: children in various stages of excitement and dress/undress. Where were the mounds of ripped wrapping paper and the squeaking, wailing and general cacophony that accompanies the discovery and setting up of new toys, like train sets, Scalextric, Mousetrap, Girls World, Tiny Tears (oops I’m going back a bit!) keyboards, ‘phones, radios, play stations etc., I remember having to wheedle, cajole and coax my little(and fully grown!) offspring to ‘Please eat something’….
Obviously, I have gone terribly wrong with my Christmas Day regime. I really only ever ‘planned’ for Christmas Dinner for I thought I had Christmas breakfast sussed: cereal with milk/sugar/honey, toast ( I buttered it!) tea and something from a selection box….. can you appreciate the culinary skill required for that feast….. and simple though it was I had to force myself into the kitchen and away from all the fun. Cooking a ‘Cordon Bleu Brekkie’ was never on my ‘to do’ list; Santa had been and I wanted to see what he had brought! I would have missed the looks of surprise and joy on little faces as dreams and wishes came true. I would have missed the wonderment at the mince pie and carrot that had disappeared along with the milk (never finished) or the beer(always scoffed!) or the ‘medicinal’ whisky(downed in a oner!!). Odd that the children never asked once, if Santa had a problem ho-ho- holding his drink and ‘driving’ the sleigh! So, no – my children never had smoked salmon and home made waffles for breakfast on Christmas day. Dinner was (and still is) another matter.
Unfortunately there are no more little faces ‘in my face’ first thing on Christmas morning but I do have children and grandchildren who fill my heart and manage to sustain the wonder and joy of the season. I raise my glass of ‘medicinal’ Pinot Grigio to Santas everywhere. Talking of surprise and wonderment ….. sometimes children come to school with rather rough and ready table manners. In the lunchroom at the beginning of term, a supervising teacher approached little William as he was ‘tucking into’ his fish and chips – by hand. She proceeded to introduce him to the knife and fork left abandoned alongside his plate. She placed the knife in his right hand and the fork in his left.
‘Now, William, this is what you do. Do you see this big long chip here. Well, it is too big to go into your mouth all at once.’
‘ You think?’ replied the child silently.
‘So,’ continued the teacher,’hold the chip down with your fork and slice it in half with your knife….. see how it stays on the fork…..?……now lift it up to your mouth and………’ She was cut short by the reaction of William to this half chip. He was gazing at it in utter astonishment.
‘ Whatever’s the matter, William?’
‘Please Miss, look at that………. there’s a tattie in there!!’