An anonymous writer shares their experiences of their student Christmas dinner, which just so happened to coincide with ‘Drink the Vic Dry’…. read on to see how their dinner turned out…...
Like most student houses, mine consists of four students who love food. Unlike some others, mine also consists of four students who love cooking good food. As a result, Christmas dinner was an occasion planned four weeks in advance. We picked a date when we were all available, planned a menu, set up a Secret Santa, and – closer to the date – decorated the house suitably. A small tree went in the living room and a red tablecloth covered the table. When the day finally arrived, our small Mount Pleasant house looked quite festive.
As for the main event, we spared nothing. One housemate took it on himself to roast the bird (we settled on a chicken since only three of the four of us eat meat and our oven is small), bake the stuffing, and boil up cranberry sauce – the latter two from scratch. Another took charge of the cauliflower cheese, mince pies, and cheesecake. A third – the vegetarian – baked leek, mushroom, and goats cheese strudels as her main dish (and a side for everyone else). And I roasted parsnips, carrots and potatoes; boiled peas; and made the appetiser: deviled eggs, some plain with paprika and some with smoked salmon as well. For four busy, broke students, I think we did an admirable job at a proper Christmas dinner.
We all did our shopping a few days in advance, filling our refrigerator to full capacity. The night before, stuffing was prepared and cranberry sauce cooked. In the morning, eggs were boiled and vegetables were chopped. We then decided to take time off and finish the meal around 7pm, when we were coming back from respective afternoon outings. I could not believe how well this was going – stress levels were nonexistent!
The whole evening would have gone off without a hitch were it not for one fatal flaw. We had inevitably picked the same day for our dinner as ‘Drink the Vic Dry’ and its infamous £2 pints. As I left the house to go see a friend’s show, I passed two of my housemates on their return. They looked far too pleased with themselves, and it didn’t take much prodding for them to proudly proclaim that they’d had six pints each at the Vic. Hearing that such inebriation would be using ovens and stovetops in our kitchen was not the most reassuring prospect, but as Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth puts it, ‘what’s done cannot be undone.’ I trusted they’d sober up and went off to my friend’s performance.
Upon returning I found two housemates in the kitchen – the one who’d stayed in and one of the two Vic patrons. The latter was making a merry mess but was doing an excellent job with the roasting (I think his considerable stature gave him some immunity against the copious quantities of alcohol). The other (smaller) Vic patron, however, had not fared so well. He had been quite ill and was currently sleeping off his intoxication, leaving the fate of the cauliflower cheese undetermined. Thankfully he dragged himself downstairs to cook up the creamy, cheesy mess in time for the dinner, but sadly we could not tempt him with any of the offerings. He joined us for the meal only to nurse a glass of water, making periodic trips to the loo when he could not keep it down, and moan about ‘keeping up’ with his heavyweight companion. But the spirit was there.
A night of Christmas camaraderie, complete with crackers, crowns, and Secret Santa, made it a fond memory. And trust me, there were enough leftovers for us all to eat for a week, and definitely for our poor hungover mate to have a full Christmas lunch the next day.
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