Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Hooptedoodle #351 - Peace Breaks Out on the Dining Table


Last year, because of various family problems, we didn't celebrate Christmas here at all. Today the Contesse and our son and I sat down for Christmas lunch together, and I must say it was very pleasant. Eating a cooked meal together as a family is very therapeutic, no question - also, this was the first year I can remember when I could actually have a glass of wine with lunch, since previously I have invariably been required to get some elderly relative or other back home afterwards, before their personal curfew.

Anyone who has fought battles on this table may be interested to see its peaceful use - this, of course, is why scenic flock is banned from the house...

Not a very ornate set-up today, I admit it - very subdued, but the Contesse provided an excellent meal, which I enjoyed thoroughly. Although this room was only built in 2005, it's sobering to consider the guests we have entertained here who are no longer with us - hmmm. The Ghosts of Christmas Past.

On the subject of Xmas nosh, the Contesse and I were discussing how fashions have changed - she says that, when she was a kid, they usually had chicken at Christmas - we always had a goose, as I recall. To my knowledge, I never ate turkey until I was grown up and had left home. What happened? Did we just miss out on the mainstream, or did turkey become a major Christmas institution relatively recently? Surely it can't have been implanted from Thanksgiving?

Anyway - time to get in some logs for the stove and see what's on the TV this evening. The WSS soldiers are stored away upstairs, so no hobby work for a couple of days [well, maybe a little reading].

18 comments:

  1. Very nice Tony...
    Jaw Jaw not War War... ;-)

    It was always chicken when I was a kid as well...
    I believe we went over to turkey because its just bigger... I think my mum started cooking ours in September...
    Have a good one...

    All the best Aly

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    1. I remember an occasion when the butcher delivered (remember that?) a turkey which didn't actually fit our oven. They were very decent about it - they'd approximated to a heavier bird, and had overdone it (so to speak). They took it away and came back with a rather smaller one - I don't think they'd have been happy if we'd just taken it back, but they were worried and got us to check. That turkey may still be going the rounds - I guess this happened in about 1990.

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  2. Tony, good to see a truce negotiated from your tabletop battles to hold a holiday meal. For us, turkey is for Thanksgiving.

    Holiday meal traditions have evolved here as well. When I was young and we were avid hunters, duck, venison, elk, or the occasional goose frequently graced the Christmas table. Later, ham took center stage. Over the last half dozen years, it seems a beef rib roast has pushed all else aside.

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Sounds good - I haven't had gammon or ham for years (except sliced stuff out of plastic packets). As for roast beef, I can't remember. I have had the occasional steak, but no home-roasted dinners. Come to think of it, we eat surprisingly little red meat now. When I was a kid, the Sunday Roast was a regular feature - usually a leg or shoulder of lamb (overcooked), which I never really cared for, and always with peas and potatoes from the garden, and mint sauce (mint also from the garden), which I still hate to this day.

      If I close my eyes, I can still smell roasting lamb, and I swear that's "Two-Way Family Favourites" on the BBC Light Programme in the background - Gunner Arkwright, stationed in Bielefeld, sends his love to his family in Macclesfield, and is looking forward to seeing them at Christmas - and now, here's Matt Monro to sing "Portrait of My Love"....

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  3. Chicken for us as well , mind you we keep a few and my dad would cull the weaker ones for Christmas - the memory of my mother plucking and gutting them is a childhood memory I'd rather forget , can eat it but not my favourite meat . A Merry Christmas to you and yours , Tony

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    1. Cheers, Tony - that's another chicken, then - I agree that, in an age when everything is prepared, packed and frozen, we have lost the idea of being on handshaking terms with our food. If we all had to make our own pizzas, I guess there might be less obesity around. And as for filleting herring...

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  4. Its always been turkey here but then this is North America, the turkey's native land. Besides, we ate chicken all the time.

    I suspect the big, successful marketing drive by the turkey's began with the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol, repeated decade after decade on tv (and rightfully so).

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    1. I guess that's right - interesting about the Sim film (and Dickens' book) - hadn't occurred to me.

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  5. Sounds like you had a great Christmas sir.
    I must get over next year for a game; will start planning soon.
    Looking forward to more Marlburian goodness.

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    1. Best regards, M le Duc - have a good Hogmanay!

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  6. Sounds good Tony. I only remember having turkey at Christmas growing up. So that's the 60s and 70s in my family. More 'exotic' things like ham or goose were only introduced in our family later with more exposure to outside influences (mainly from That London).

    Since getting together with TCMN (to coin a phrase) we've tended to do the Finnish thing on Christmas Eve with a half-hearted attempt at traditional English fare (my fault) on Christmas Day.

    As an aside, mention of the Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol brought to mind a prog I watched the other day* about Christmas traditions and 'they' reckon turkey became 'a thing' at Christmas (along with the phrase 'Merry Christmas') only after publication of said book.

    * "Britain's Christmas Story" with Gareth Malone and Karen Gibson

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    1. The turkey thing is interesting - obviously, the UK's consumption of turkeys would have had to start after Walter Raleigh, you would think, but I don't have a feel for when it became a popular food for festive occasions - the Dickens reference is intriguing. I'd also like to point out that, ancient as I am, my own childhood was later than both Raleigh and Dickens, so that doesn't quite explain why I never had turkey as a boy. I recall massive (black and white?) TV advertising campaigns for Bernard Matthews (?) turkey, so maybe there was still work to be done to boost sales of turkeys (1960s?) - or maybe that was just to make the point that it didn't have to be Christmas to have turkey. I'll see if I can find any trace of the TV programme - thanks for that.

      Long ago, when my first wife's parents (who were actual farmers, and came from farming families) were still alive, I heard tales of the Boxing Day or St Stephen festivities, when all the farm workers and their families used to sit down together and be fed by their employers, but the tradition there seems to have been a roasted pig or bullock. And home-brewed ale - don't even think about it - no wonder they all died young.

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    2. It’s an interesting programme. On it there’s something that sort of connects with that Boxing Day tradition of feeding the farm workers - wassailing. I’d heard of it before but what was new to me was the tradition in some parts of the country where the wassailers (in disguise) would threaten dig up with a plough the garden of the big wig who refused to give them money/drink/food. Maybe Trick or Treating is a mistimed wassail?

      Back home in Poundland the local Morris Men still perform their round of pubs on Boxing Day, though I suspect they originated as a group in the 20th century.

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  7. Glad that you had a nice day Tony. I'm actually glad it's over (Bah Humbug) as it was insanely busy and noisy here yesterday with 11 of us for dinner! Turkey, beef, lamb and gammon were on the table.... pure overkill, literally! I bet we're all itching to get back to our figure painting.

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    1. Hope you are building up on stamina, Lee, you still have the cold-meat sandwiches and the curry to go! We eat far less in my household than we used to, I guess - I always recall the craving for beans-on-toast round about the 3rd Day of Xmas. That's done it - I've just realised I haven't had sardines on toast for decades - I'll have to check that out, as soon as Tesco opens again!

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  8. A very merry Christmas to you and the good Contesse, my dear Tony. It sounds like it was celebrated in the finest manner. My new bride and I, having discharged sundry family functions and liturgical obligations up to Christmas Day, enjoyed our own company and one of those pressed boneless turkeys that comes in a wee net. Quite delicious with herself's homeward cranberry sauce which was surprisingly tart and pleasant. All the best to you and yours in the year to come.
    Michael

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  9. I am late to the party (as usual) but a Merry Christmas to you and yours... returning to the subject of the original musing, "a roasted pig or bullock. And home-brewed ale" sounds like Christmas dinner at Chez SteveTheWargamer... for some reason, roast pork from the local farm was chosen one year decades ago and was so delicious it has been the meat of choice ever since.. only my wife eats turkey, I think it tastes of nothing at all (with the notable and singular exception of the Christmas special 'black turkey' dinner they do at the Firehouse in Bath... delicious)

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  10. Even later to the party, sorry, but the subject of 'when did Turkey become the thing' also came up as we ate Xmas dinner (Goose - a bit of a novelty). My childhood memories go back to the 1960s, and it was always Turkey by then. One website mentioned that perhaps they really gained popularity in the 1950s with the widespread ownership of domestic fridges in Britain - sounds quite plausible. I can take or leave Turkey; Sardines on Toast, however - food of the gods! (add some chopped tomato and a little dill, perhaps?) Happy New Year to you!

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