Exeter, Devon UK • May 21, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
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Christmas Lunch

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Christmas Lunch

Olivia Garrett establishes what makes the perfect Christmas lunch

Imagine this: it’s the 9th of December 2018 and you’re almost finished with your first term of university. You’ve decided to do a Christmas lunch with the new friends you’ve made in Birks Grange. You’re all so eager and excited that you all get up early that morning to start cooking. The table is adorned with a lovely red table cloth from Wilko and you’ve even bought bucks fizz to pour into plastic champagne glasses. All the food is laid out, the Turkey isn’t leaking blood, so you sit, you pull the crackers and you start to tuck in. And then, one of your lovely new friends who you thought you had come to know pretty well by now, whips out a bottle of Ketchup and proceeds to squeeze it *hold back the tears* all over the plate- not even a blob at the side. You have never felt so much horror in your life and you almost want to flip the table in rage at seeing globules of ketchup floating in the pool of sacred Aunt Bessie’s gravy. If you have experienced a trauma like this, please seek help or be sure hide their ketchup bottle next year.

The perfect Christmas lunch is very hard to describe because, despite tradition, it’s so individual. Everyone claims their Mum’s roast potatoes are the best because she shakes them anti-clockwise or coats then in special flour or goose fat or whatever. Everyone has their own little tweaks that make it perfect for them and I’m sure many people will strong opinions on mine.

The perfect Christmas lunch is very hard to describe because, despite tradition, it’s so individual.

Apart from this terrifying start, the lunch went very well and even though it wasn’t perfect, (I think everyone knows that the ovens in halls kitchens are as effective as shining your phone’s LED light on the food) it felt like a Christmas lunch.

I’m going to start with my big no and I’m sure this will make half the readers leave right now, which is Yorkshire puddings. I love them, but they have no place on a Christmas dinner and I will die on this hill. The plate is already loaded with two meats (sometimes three if you like ham), vegetables and as many roast potatoes as you can manage, and Yorkshires are just unnecessary in this mix. You shouldn’t have to rely on them to fill you up, you should rely on the seconds and thirds you’ll be going for. Plus compared to all the other rich things on the plate they just seem comparatively plain.

The second odd tradition is with the carrots, they must be batons not discs. My mother reminds of this every year when we’re chopping the veg and I think if we ever had discs she’d probably cancel Christmas. I don’t know why maybe she doesn’t want it to feel like a school dinner, maybe she’s afraid of Frisbees. All I know is one year we were going to a friend’s house and she went around there a week early to tell him it had to be in batons, or he’d feel her wrath. Suffice it to say the baton’d carrots were delicious.

Yorkshire puddings … I love them, but they have no place on a Christmas dinner

The last big no-no is stuffing which is basically meat flavoured baby food, or chestnut flavoured baby food. Either way it’s pointless mush and I think it needs to be abolished under law.

Phew, now that’s out the way I think the rest of my views are pretty common. A turkey in the middle (preferably with an orange in its arse), pigs in blankets, at least six roast potatoes (crispy or nothing), parsnips of course, then any veg will do- broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, brussel sprouts (yes you heard me right, sprouts yes, Yorkshires no) and gravy. Then of course you get seconds and drink five bottles of wine. That’s my perfect Christmas lunch and I hope you enjoy whatever makes yours perfect.

Unless you put ketchup on it, then you’re seriously deranged.

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