I was sick for Christmas; beginning the day before I was laid up and useless in bed, unable to festivate or jollify or even merrytize. I did, however, watch an ungodly amount of Doctor Who and produce a near-equal amount of phlegm—at the same time, mind you, which made me feel like one of the slimy, rubbery alien villains that make the show so kitschtastic. While I was busy being a Slime Lord, all the preparations and cooking fell to my better half, who really distinguished herself, especially with the cooking, since that’s not something she is called upon to do very often.
Her Dad used to make split pea soup every Christmas eve, so she got the recipe from her Mother and made it, using stock made from a chicken carcass that she roasted the night before (it was such luxury for me, even feeling shitty, to be cooked for for three straight days) and a couple of smoked pig’s feet from the freezer because if ever there was a reason to own a chest freezer, having the space to bank smoked pig’s feet is it. Lots of peas, stock, carrot, onion, and celery, and the feet meat shredded back into it for a long, slow cook on the back of the stove. Crusty toast on the side. A winning tradition.
Christmas brunch was waffles, and then dinner was a boned lamb leg roast rubbed with herbs and studded with copious garlic. On the side, collards slow-cooked with some of that smoky stock and ginger and garlic, plus big rounds of sweet potato baked in spiced cream, one of my best-ever inventions. My new flash came a few days ago, though I was too sick to make much use of it, but you get the idea.
And dessert was a perfect pumpkin pie, using my Grandmother’s best-in-the-world crust and a homegrown pumpkin for filling.
With a hefty layer of maple-dosed whipped cream on top.
She got it all just right. I should get sick more often. But I feel all better now, so if you’re good I might go back to writing about food at some point.