My mother phoned last night, when Andreas,
the sons and I were all tucked up on our bed, reading.
“Can we start the Christmas menu chat,
please?” she said. (Christmas is at her house this year.)
I beamed down the phone.
“Of course,” I said, snuggling into the
curve of Dreas’s arm. “Do you want to be the one who tries to rock the boat
“No, no... I did it last year,” replied
Mom. “You do it.”
“Okay,” I said. “How about we ditch the
traditional dinner? I know... let’s bake a whole salmon and serve it with a
creamy home-made dill mayonnaise?
That’s so much more summery! Or what about
a deboned chicken stuffed with spinach and feta
I could feel bodies tensing all about me.
“I love those ideas!” said my mom. “How
about we do garlicky grilled prawns with chilli for
starters instead of the usual prawn cocktail? Or a parma ham and plum salad”
“Great plan,” I agreed. “Ditch the 70s
prawns and lose the roasts. Let’s lighten up this year. Ooh! And how about a cranberry cassata for pudding instead of trifle?”
At this point there was a squawk from Son1.
“Does that mean no pink sauce?” His lip quivered a little. “I wait all year for
the prawns in the pink sauce. I love those prawns. You might be over it, but I
am only 11. I am so not over it yet. ”
“And if there are no roasts, then your mom
won’t make her gravy,” Andreas said, worriedly. “And, babe... you know how your
gravy is nice? Your mom’s gravy could effect world peace. I must have that
gravy. Sammy? Tell me you guys didn’t just lose me my gravy.”
“Meltdown my end,” I said to Mom. “Faster
than last year. And your side?”
“Your father’s making small meeping noises
about crackling and apple sauce,” she said.
“So prawn cocktail and pork roast it is.” I
“And don’t forget the trifle,” piped up
9-year-old Benj. Indeed.
Yup. While some families might ring the
holiday changes, ours stays very firmly – and terribly happily – in 1976.
Now I’d like to hear about yours. Do you
have set Christmas menus or is your family more adventurous than mine? What’s
sacrosanct? And... can you share the recipes? Email us and let us know.