What is it about “the season to be jolly” that makes one think a glace cherry is an acceptable food to consume? On ANY (and I truly mean ANY) other day of the year, place one of these green or red balls of repulsion in front of me and I will LITERALLY be ill. But on the 25th of December? It’s a different story.
Christmas comes but once a year, and it only lasts for about 12 hours. Sure there’s the whole setting the tree up on the first day of summer carry on and office party on a boat shenanigans, but REAL Christmas, sit down and guzzle Christmas, tear open a cracker and slap a crown on your head whilst reading a lame joke Christmas, that only lasts for several hours.
What’s my point? Well, my point is, that I think this ‘once a year-ness’ of Christmas is the main reason that certain foods are desperately craved on the day. Certain disgusting foods. Foods that not only wouldn’t enter a reasonable person’s mind throughout the year, but would actually make said people feel very, very unwell if consumed on any of the other 364 days. Pass me a bucket.
For me there are a couple of foods in this category. The first one is White Christmas (see recipe below). This great Australian tradition is made from seven ingredients, six of which are my least favourite foods in the whole wide world. But trust me, as I walk into my mothers house year in and year out on Jesus’ B-day, the first thing I say every single time is “Gimme the White C”. I’m like a woman possessed.
The second food that for me, slots very comfortably into this category is Christmas – bloody – pudding. Its appearance (minus the custard) is very similar to the contents of the nappy of a child who has eaten legumes for lunch and dinner every day for a week. Big. Dark brown. Steaming. It too is made up from several ingredients that appear on my ‘no go’ foods lists during the year. So why Lord why come 3.30pm on the 25th of the 12th every year, if I haven’t yet had it, am I pretty much asking for it intravenously??
Apart from these foods that swing wildly in my mind from ‘hate’ to ‘great’, there is a list of ‘must haves’ that need to make an appearance on the buffet table every year and if they aren’t there, well it just isn’t a real Christmas, is it? I might not actually put these foods on my plate on the day, but that’s not the point. I need to see them to feel happy. Turkey is atop this list. I’ll never have any on Christmas day, but the years when Mum says “Oh I was thinking we wouldn’t do a turkey this year” are the years that I decide in my own head that I’m pretty much not turning up. It’s me and the turkey or it’s a me-less Christmas. Mum loves me lots and so the turkey always appears.
Then there’s the question of hot versus cold. Again, the year my sister threatened to host “a cold seafood ‘Aussie’ Christmas” was the year she nearly dined alone. “You’ve got to be kidding?!” shouted Dad, Me, my brother, all of my cousins, the in-laws etc. I think being Mediterranean has something to do with it. For us, we’d happily skip the cold beer and prawns for a big roasted thick slab of whatever, accompanied by 1000 salads, sides and sauces. In addition, alcohol has never been the centre piece at ANY of our functions. Sure it’s always there, but some booze accompanied by a crustacean just aint cuttin’ the mustard in this Greek household.
When discussing this subject with my friend Dani, it was concluded that Christmas is more about Tradition than Taste buds. And come Christmas Eve, I know that the next day, like each year preceding, I will be scoffing glace cherries, White Christmas, and steamed ‘babies nappies’ as though my life depended on it. Like it or not.
3 cups of rice bubbles
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 and a half cups of sultanas
1 cup dry powdered milk
1 cup icing sugar
½ cup glace cherries
250 g of copha
- In a big mixing bowl, stir together all of the ingredients, except the copha.
- Melt the copha, then allow to cool slightly.
- Once cooled, add copha into bowl of other combined ingredients and stir thoroughly.
- Pour mixture into a lined tray (about 30cm x 15cm)
- Place into the fridge to set for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
- Slice into 2 inch squares. (Store in fridge).
Consume only between 12.00am and 11.59pm on 25/12/any year.
About the Author: By trade she is an architect but ”by love’ she is a PHOODIE. Phoodie graduated from Le Cordon Bleu London’s Cuisine Certificate programme and is now more inspired than ever to fill in the gaps in her knowledge about food.
For the really adventurous (and those of you with science labs) you can also prepare Heston Blumenthal’s Christmas dessert. Why not?
So what are you preparing for Christmas?