Essential festive fare
The cold and austerity may have hit us in a big way, but Pat Fitzpatrick has five ingredients that, recession or not, are vital for a traditional Christmas
THE BIRD: You take one bite of the turkey on Christmas Day and say, "So that's why we only have it once a year." So dry and tasteless, it must have become a Christmas classic due to a shortage of crows.
But then you pop out to your cousin’s after dinner for two and a half bottles of wine and stumble back in at midnight with acute munchies, which can only be cured by sitting in front of Some Like It Hot, scoffing a leftover turkey leg like a demented Viking. You see, that's Christmas.
There are two types of people in the world — those who like Brussels sprouts and those with actual working taste buds. But it's Christmas, and Donal will sulk without his sprouts, so the table is groaning with them, and eight different kinds of spuds, if you include croquettes. When Mammy says, “Eat all that up now or I'll give it to the black babies,” everyone pretends to be shocked before falling around the place laughing. Mammy, you're such a racist, it's gas.
THE SELECTION BOX
No, it's not just you; Curly Wurlys are definitely getting smaller. The selection box is now something Mammy gives to her grown-up kids on Christmas Day to see if she can still spark a riot. And how. When Donal, 32, finds himself standing over his big sister Aine, 38, screaming, “Who the hell else took it, Aine Fat Arse?” he has to admit it's an over-reaction to a missing Chomp. Double Decker, maybe, but not a Chomp.
It became popular during the boom years for Irish families to lash into the bubbly on Christmas morning. It wasn't unusual to arrive at your aunt's house at noon to find the cousins doing the foxtrot in the kitchen and screaming, “I'm telling ye lads, ‘tis far from champagne we were reared.” You can't be caught drinking expensive champagne these days, which is why we love stuff from Lidl with names like Der Cheapen Bubbler.
Somewhere inside a Swiss mountain sit the evil geniuses behind the cranberry industry, or Big Cranberry, as they are known. Ever since they managed to persuade us you can't beat some of their sauce on a slice of turkey, it is believed they are capable of anything. While scoffing at the guys from Big Raspberry Cordial who tried to hook up with Guinness, these guys plot a move to wipe out the Country Relish people once and for all.