Friday, 21 December 2007

A Traditional Family Christmas?

We have had reason of late, to think of heritage and the things passed down from generation to generation. Our consideration of heritage is thanks to the occasional visitor, that comes slinking like a sly cat around every family door from time to time: mortality.

Our families, Mrs C's and mine, have little in the way of family silver; there is little to show for our combined heritage. So it was interesting today to see my mother-in-law's family bible dusted off. The faded leather tome is inscribed on the fly leaf in beautiful copperplate handwriting with the year 1899 and the name of her great grandfather. Equally interesting was another book that belonged to her aunt: May Byron's Pot Luck a collection of recipes from around the country dated 1923.

I pointed out to Mrs C, how timely this book was: with all this talk of heritage and tradition, we were just in time to take its advice for a traditional Christmas. Amongst the many recipes, including Rook Pie that starts with the instruction 'skin and draw six young rooks', there is much advice for the aspiring cook. But from the outset one thing is clear, right from the first paragraph of the first page though: there is no place for men in the kitchen.

I pointed this out to Mrs C and, along with a reminder of her twenty-year-old promise before God and the late Rev A.T.P. Harrison to obey me, I indicated my intention to retire to the lounge on Tuesday while she prepared the Christmas dinner, which this year must consist of our own vegetarian option and a turkey-type option for an elderly relative who cannot under any circumstances be convinced that nut roast is a reasonable equivalent to the more traditional fare.

I have to say that Mrs C put up a number of excellent philosophical arguments about how literally we were meant to take the words from the traditional marriage service. She included a number of tautologies with well reasoned examples of how, had she followed this promise to the letter, things might have gone very much awry at chez Croft over the years - and she managed it in so few sentences, a quite prodigious talent for getting the point across in a small word count, something some of us bloggers could learn by!

So, I will be doing my share in the kitchen as I have every year; a scene that will no doubt be mirrored across the world. I wish you all a very happy Christmas. No doubt we will all be far too busy to blog over the coming days so I say bye for now and to close I offer you the seasonal work of a blogging musical genius who writes of his quest for good musical things for his favourite instrument: Uke Hunt; click here to hear, so to speak.


Lisa said...

Ah yes, I can imagine what Mrs C said to you! Although I bet she was rather more polite than I would have been had my OH suggested the same.
Thankfully it's my sisters turn to cook this year so no such discussions have taken place in Galgo Towers this year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Oh and I've not forgotten about the challenge either!

misterwoppit said...

Well you see, the olden days (when things were beige, trousers were huge, and people walked funny) were a bit odd. We have a very egalitarian approach to things here at Woppit Towers. Everyone has their part to play in the Crimble kitchen. For me, my role is to make rum truffles. I also have to drink a lot of fine wine whilst doing this. I employ a small army of manservants called Wilberforce to clean up after me.