Right now it seems like anyone who’s anyone in the food blogging world is writing about Christmas. Everywhere you turn, bloggers are offering up homemade truffles, deeply spiced cookies, caramelised nuts, jams, chocolate barks, anything flavoured with peppermint or eggnog, all bundled up in pretty jars or crinkling cellophane to be given to your nearest and dearest.
Or they’re showing you gluten-free stuffings, creative (nay, “festive”) vegetable or grain-based sides, shimmering cocktails, and new takes on Christmas pudding that inevitably make my stomach turn. At the very least, you’re being told about Christmas parties, fine dining restaurant menus, or how to make bath salts and candles.
Me? Not so much. I thought I’d offer you a little respite from holiday hollerings, and instead tell you a bedtime story. (While also giving you links to previous recipes that might be Christmas appropriate. Why not play for both sides?)
Last year, I made sweetly refreshing Raspberry Granita for Christmas lunch.
Once upon a time, Jenni and I had to fly to Sydney for work. This took place during my week of sickness, and so I arrived at the airport bright and early Monday morning feeling rather wonky.
Jenni showed up just as our plane began boarding and, as we made our way across the tarmac, I started telling her how worried I’d been that she’d miss the flight.
“Seriously, Jenni,” I said, nudging her with my elbow, “I was feeling really zelted when I thought you wouldn’t make it and I’d have to attend the meeting alone.”
“I’m sorry!” Jenni replied. “The self-service machine had issues with finding my ticket.”
There was a pause. Then I spoke, matter-of-factly but with an air of quiet surprise: “I just said ‘zelted’. That’s not a word.”
“Yes,” Jenni said. “I thought that was a bit strange.”
For the hot, hunky, smoky, mysterious and adventurous love of your life, I recommend my Spiced Fig, Pepita and Molasses Granola.
Many hours later, our meeting finished, Jenni and I hailed a taxi. En route back to the airport, we started giggling at the truly horrendous wedding dresses we were catching sight of in passing bridal shop windows (a bodice made of see-through lace with just a skerrick of heavier material over the nipple area does not a beautiful bride make).
My Chocolate Date Meringue Torte would make a great Christmas dessert too.
“Did you see that one?!” Jenni exclaimed.
“Holy smokes,” I gasped. “That apard classy shine.”
There was a pause.
“Apard?” Jenni repeated.
The was another pause.
“Jenni!” I wailed. “This is what happens to people when they’re having a stroke!”
Of course, healthy sweets like these Raw Vegan Date Coconut Cashew Treats never go astray either.
Do you want to know the worst part? Jenni’s “Oh, Hannah” wasn’t said in a tone of “don’t be silly” or even “what a witty comment”. It was said in a manner and cadence that conveyed, purely and simply, “how sad for you that you’re having a stroke”. Sure, she giggled, but I CAUGHT THE TONE. The tone never lies.
The following, my friends, is therefore going to be my excuse on Christmas day:
“I’m so sorry, [beloved family member]. I surely did order your Christmas present, I promise, but unfortunately it won’t arrive until mid-January. But it’s not my fault, I swear! I was having a long extended stroke all through December.”
That’ll zelted ‘em for sure.