Traditions

I went to church at midnight on Christmas Eve (I actually near-as-darn-it (this is a church, watch your language!) ram-raided the church, actually, because what I thought was a parking space actually turned out to be the entrance. It wasn’t very well lit. My mother told me to do it. And then we realised that we were all being stared at by about half the elderly, tutting congregation. Anyway, we went to church. Carols were sung, and descants cheekily attempted by at least some of our party, although of course that sort of thing should be left to the real choir.

We did the usual – carol-singing, last-minute shopping, late-night decorating, surreally-early drinking, etc. My sister and I continued two rather more individual traditions of ours – silly knickers in lieu of stocking presents (we’re technically too old for stockings now, so instead we give each other the silliest, frilliest knickers we can find, and mum still gives us an orange, some chocolate and a book and things – thank you Mum πŸ™‚ ), and that I would forget to buy at least something – in this case, the knickers – and have to write her a grovelling IOU instead.

I found this year’s My Favourite Christmas Advert (a post I know you’ve all been waiting for on tenterhooks). Can’t seem to find it on Image Search 😦 but it’s a photo of Hugh Laurie looking edible, next to a large image of a men’s moisturiser, with the tagline, ‘Get yourself a new man this Christmas with new Vita Lift 5 from L’Oreal’ (or something). The bit I particularly like is the small print at the bottom: ‘Hugh Laurie is not a free gift with this purchase’. It made me laugh.

Weepie moment of the year (since normally my Christmas ad is a surefire winner for this slot too), thanks to L at Patchwork Dreams, is the Military Wives’ single. I can’t help it.

This year, resolutions. I don’t know what I normally write here. Presumably the usual earnest intentions about being happier and more organised and nicer and all the rest of it.

Bother all that. This year all I want is to get to the end of the year and know how to put together a whole roast dinner. I know it’s technically simple, but the act of timing everything right so you get a perfectly cooked joint, lovely roast potatoes, vegetables, gravy and all the other trimmings, all beautifully cooked and hot at roughly the same time – it’s basically pretty daunting, especially for someone who isn’t sure she can cook.

This is because I think making New Year’s resolutions is a bit artificial. Who, really, hasn’t? We would all love to get to the 31st of December 2012 and consider that we’ve grown as people and lost that half stone we wanted to shift that the start of the year and given 15% of our earnings to charity and actually kept up that gym membership, but life doesn’t happen that way and you know it. You make massive life changes when they become necessary and not because it’s a new year; and so if I’ve made resolutions at New Year’s at all these past few years, it’s essentially been a bit half-arsed. So I thought to myself, why not resolve to do something that doesn’t make me a better, thinner, healthier person? Why not simply resolve to do something I haven’t done before, just because I can? Far more exciting than not resolving to do anything, or rather, resolving to do nothing. Resolve to do something constructively fun.

Though I suggest you avoid any invitations I might make to dinner any time soon…

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Traditions

  1. “I would forget to buy at least something – in this case, the knickers – and have to right her a grovelling IOU instead”

    Eeeeeerm….

    On a less pedantic note, Happy 2012 πŸ™‚

  2. Oh wow. That’s horrendous! Thank you for pointing it out πŸ™‚

    And happy 2012 πŸ™‚ – hope it’s got off to a good start!

  3. I don’t need one for a roast, but timing wise just use a gant chart – its what I use when I’m creating some multi-course many-people-feeding horror of a meal. And I can teach you how to make good potatoes. I’ll send you a method, if you want it. learning a roast should be an easy thing for a year =)

  4. What’s a gant chart? Might well find that concept useful if I do manage to graduate to ‘multi-course many-people-feeding’ horror meals! As for good potatoes, that would be great :). It should be reasonably easy but I think also a satisfying thing to have achieved. Going to have my first attempt to celebrate exams being over I think, with housemates (though I haven’t warned them yet…!!).

  5. Adam

    Roast Dinner on the whole is one of those things that’s almost impossible to get wrong.

    My advice is to plan things around whichever part of the dinner takes the longest. Also, roast potatoes tend to take longer than you realise to get perfect (crispy on the outside, fluffy inside) mine take about 1h15m to do.

    Peel and chop spuds put them to boil,
    after about 10minutes, start to heat a roasting tin with your choice of fat/margarine/butter/olive-oil in the oven.
    Once the spuds have started to go soft, strain and shake fiercely in a collinder to further soften the edges (gets the outside to go crispy)
    Place them in the roasting tin and back into the oven, turn them every 20m or so to get them brown all over.

  6. My blog has accidentally turned into a cookery blog. I like this. This can stay.

    Thanks Adam :). Colander trick is one I think I’ve used before when we’ve done chips or wedges (that’s when we don’t leave the skins on which is to my mind the best way to do wedges) – should be good with roast potatoes :).

    A makes the most awesome lemon and garlic roast chicken. Might ask him about that too – roast chicken by co-operative blogging is definitely the way forward…!

    Though right now I’m mainly just hallucinating about pork crackling.

  7. Antony

    A gantt chart for cooking? Oh man.

    @Jenny a gantt chart is a chart of timings/activities. Tells you how long to spend on what and what must be done before another part and what sub tasks constitute a larger task and la la la.

    Project managers love them. Just you wait.

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