Yesterday, I maintained my Christmas tradition of stuffing my plate with food and feeling debilitated afterwards.
And for the fourth successive Christmas, there was no meat on my plate. There are several advantages to cooking a vegetarian Christmas dinner. The main one is there is none of the painstaking preparation required for a turkey. For about seven consecutive Christmases, I’d made a mission to make turkey taste nice and to not be dry.
I’d adapted a Jamie Oliver recipe that involved chopping up cranberries and squishing them into a block of butter with rosemary, sage, and pepper. I’d then spread the butter underneath the skin, with some tangerines shoved up the cavity.
It wasn’t just the preparation that took a long time, cooking also meant I had to get up early to get the turkey in the oven, then check it every so often for the next four or five hours. This would never have been a problem in my childhood, as I rarely slept on Christmas Eve.
The turkey-butter trick worked better in some years than others. But for the most part, it was tasty and hardly ever dry. I stopped buying meat at the start of 2015, which I have mainly stuck to other than for drunken relapses in Scotland. But I continued having turkey at Christmas for a couple more years subsequently. I was disappointed when my sister said she didn’t want it one year, so my parents had bought a turkey crown. And that was the end of turkey at Christmas for me.
Since then, I’ve gone for the veg wellington option. Yesterday, I ate an entire one to myself. It’s much less preparation time and you don’t have to worry about making sure it’s properly cooked before eating it for fear of food poisoning. By this, I don’t mean I’m eating these wellingtons raw. The pastry is an effective indicator. But despite the wellington taking at least four hours less to cook, we still didn’t end up eating until almost 2pm on Christmas Day.
While the meat may have gone, the gluttonous urges and subsequent bloated state remain. That sentence really should be in a Christmas song.
One thing I have been missing for the last few Christmases is Doctor Who. They usually weren’t particularly memorable, but it did at least give me something to look forward to later on Christmas Day after opening the presents and consuming large quantities of food. While there is an episode out on New Year’s Day, it’s just not quite the same.
I remember reading an interview with Chris Chibnall a few years ago where he said he’d run out of ideas for Christmas specials. Well, if there are any Doctor Who producers reading this – and I know they almost certainly are – then I have written a Doctor Who Christmas special entitled: The Time Lord Who Stole Christmas. It involves thousands of alien parasites that attack people, so is particularly festive and family-friendly. Get in touch, producers.