Frivolous Monsters

Not Quite the Christmas – Part 02

On Christmas morning I woke up to the words that every child longs to hear: “I forgot to wrap one of yours… And I forgot to buy one of yours… Happy Christmas!Brussels sprouts

For Christmas dinner I noticed that one of my parents had carved the sprouts with crosses so that they resembled cartoon zombie eyeballs. I imagined that this act was to carve the Jesus into them as if from some an old wives’ tale or bizarre Catholic tradition like eating fish on Fridays or unplugging the television during a thunderstorm.

Seeing as we’re not a religious family I just raised an eyebrow and didn’t comment although looking into this later I noticed that The Guardian had done an exposé of this practise, about whether crossing sprouts had any effect on cooking them, to show that this really is just a myth.

Crossed sprouts to the left... or was it the right?

Crossed sprouts to the left… or was it the right?

On Boxing Day morning my parents abandoned me home alone to shepherd the cats for a couple of days. My Mum had asked me the day before whether I wanted her to cook extra roast potatoes and veg to see me through?

I told her I didn’t.

She asked me again, later.

I told her I didn’t.

She left me with a mountain of mixed carrot and swede to climb and all I want to do was eat Quorn roll barm cakes with coleslaw, cold stuffing, and Marks and Sparks crisps as that’s my traditional idea of the week post-Christmas.

And now I’ve spent the past two days under siege.

My estranged brother’s ex-partner, and mother of my parent’s third grandchild, who they discovered by chance this year in a local pub, ruined the usual Noel serenity we have when she sent word that she was going to appear on Christmas morning like one of Dickens’ ghosts.

My brother did his disappearing act a few Christmases ago and never came by to collect presents I had for him and one of his fiancés, I presume it was the second, and so coping with the effects of my brother is hard enough. Doubly so now she’s started bringing her boyfriend around when she visits too.

Despite all possible dissuasion, and an enforced tidy up, she later announced that she would turn up some time during the afternoon. Like Samuel Beckett’s Godot she never arrived.

So that’s now made a very odd situation a hell of a lot more difficult.

And that’s not something I want to touch with a bargepole so I spent two days staying away from the window and refusing to answer the door. Looking back to Medieval siege strategy a castle can only hold out as long as its sustenance holds.

As I ski down my mountain of mixed carrot and swede I’m thinking that I could stick it out for quite a while yet. Not quite the Christmas I expected.

I think our foxes have been slacking as I put the turkey leg out and instead of it disappearing overnight, like things used to, it just danced around the garden over a few days as the street cats presumably had a go. It must’ve been slightly mocking to the boy, when he went out, as it meant there was a sum-total of four legs knocking about the garden.

Surviving another winter.

Surviving another winter.

Come New Year’s Eve and the remaining orange vegetable mountain still survived.

It’s now been whizzed into soup.

There’s still a pile of wrapped presents just sitting here.

I don’t like to ask.

It eventually befell to me to collect the turkey leg bones.

And I poetically finished the last of the (second) Quorn roll, with the end of the (second batch of) stuffing, and the final spoonfuls of (the second tub of) coleslaw, on the final barm cake.

One hell of a sandwich.

I’m thinking Christmas must be over.

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23 thoughts on “Not Quite the Christmas – Part 02

  1. Christmas is officially over only when he supermarket has run out of discounted shortbread and the fridge sees its last plate of leftovers, although, if you keep restocking the fridge with the same yummy stuff you can drag it out for weeks….

    There is no way sprouts would be served here and welcomed, that’s for sure. Ick.

    • I used to enjoy going around all the supermarkets after Christmas picking up all the different varieties of discounted mince pies. I seem to recall it getting harder and harder in recent years – presumably as the supermarkets wound their necks in, in these hard time – but this year we ended up with too much sweet stuff and I couldn’t bare the thought of even looking. My Dad’s birthday cake I was going to make was already “postponed” until New Year, but now it’s on an extended hiatus.

      p.s. Sprouts are good for you. Cannot do without them here.

      • The after-Xmas sales are the best time to test those different types of seasonal goodies that we couldn’t afford beforehand aren’t they! Yum.
        How are your supermarkets in regards to hot cross buns? Before the last of the Xmas cakes are gone the hot cross buns are here tempting me with their deliciousness. They were there just after New Years and I managed to resist. I’m not sure how long I can hold out though…..

        PS. Sprouts could be a wonder drug promising eternal life and I still couldn’t eat them. I’m scarred from a soggy abundance of them served throughout my childhood. My parents were of the ‘eat everything on your plate’ school, now the merest hint of them is more than I can bear.

    • Which is ironic as they are wonder drugs as they contain anti-cancer properties! Seriously. And no-one likes them as a child, you just need to give them a second chance. Maybe third. Your parents had you best interests at heart and knew it was good for you.

      I think I’ve only been to the food shops once since Christmas. So not sure what they’re up to this year. Interesting to hear to have hot cross buns too! I have made my own in the past. Not as good, but a never-ending supply.

  2. I do think sprouts are the Devil’s work, so maybe the cross has some sort of exorcising effect?

    And well done on finishing 2 Quorn logs. Isn’t that like a kilo of Quorn altogether?

    • The sprouts were the easy bit to get through. A few years ago I must have been in Morrisons on Christmas Eve and they were selling off fresh Sprout stalks, looking like jester’s rattles. Never had them fresh before and so I picked up a couple cheap.

      And a kilo of Quorn you say… Maybe… Although checking the internet I see they’re “just” 454 g each. There were two “proper” Christmas-type dinners done as my parents had visitors a few days afterwards. So I did have some help, although probably only from my Mum. As with the rest I just kept eating the leftovers cold, on barm cakes and oven bottom muffins, and that was a week in meals for me! The “soup” eventually got finished too.

      Are you not a Quorn roll Christmas dinner family?

      • We are Quorn roll Christmas dinner folks yes, though we don’t usually tackle two:) We part cook one before rolling it in pretend sausage meat and then roll it in puff pastry to make a Quorn Wellington, of sorts. It’s the size of a turkey by the time we’re done. And it does make good leftovers.

  3. Ok, I’ll bite. What is Quorn roll?

    • As has been mentioned, possibly in the comments of the other part, it’s the things you think are universal until you find out they’re not. A Quorn roll is a lump of vegetarian “meat” that you roast and then slice pieces off without fear of finding any bones in there.

      If you’re asking what Quorn is then you’d need a better person than me as I’m still confused as there’s differences between Quorn and soya and tofu. According to Wikipedia it’s a mycoprotein extracted from a fungus. You see I must have read that before and I’m still none the wiser.

      Since they switched to only using free-range eggs in its production the Vegetarian society have given it their approval. There are many different Quorn products, including sandwich slices, and it’s a big part of a vegetarian life. I hope that helps.

  4. It sounds sad, you with your mountainous vegetable matter and a few cats. I hope you’re OK really? Chin up chuck :)

    I adore sprouts – we buy the stalks with the mini cabbages on top from a local farmer and I wouldn’t be without them this time of year (and swede too. Oh. Yum.) Ironically, we were just discussing cutting a cross in the base at supper (my dad saying he always used to do that – like 20 years ago when last did any cooking). Seems like a waste of time to me …

    Found discount mince pies in Tescos – 16p for 6 – but now they’ve cleared the way for Easter eggs. I’m refusing to look.

    • I do like a quiet Christmas week eating leftovers. So much so that more “leftovers” had to be got. And despite my siege status no-one ever came to the door, so that was that. I don’t know why she never collected the presents for her daughter and they’re still here. I’m thinking of “reclaiming” the Bagpuss / Clangers / Ivor DVD I got for myself.

      I think the other year was the first time I’d seen sprouts on stalks. These days the same Morrisons does all sorts of bizarre vegetables from around the world and sprays mist at them all day.

      16p for six mince pies is going some. Next year I’ll get back on that hunting horse, as I’m sure they’re all gone by now.

  5. As I’m fairly adventurous when it comes to food, so far I’ve only come across two things which are on my ‘won’t eat’ list – sprouts are one of the two. I’d be willing to give them another try, but not on Christmas.

    I’m not sure what’s more awkward – having gifts for family who hasn’t bothered to come collect them, or – as was my case – to arrive home for the holidays empty handed, after being told by my mother that there will be no gift exchanging this year, only to be surrounded by family members all bearing gifts….

    Nice to see the three legged cat is still ‘surviving’!

    • It’s sad that sprouts – which are wonderful – are one of the only two things you won’t eat. I cannot possibly imagine what the other could be!

      I do recognise your family present-buying dilemmas. I have had similar trouble with my other brother and his family over the years. But still I keep at it.

      And yes the three-legged cat is still going strong. The main aim was to domesticate him to make sure he survived THE winter, but he’s managed a few more since. Saying that we are having a lot of bad national weather of late (wind and flooding) although it’s been very mild. I only remember it freezing properly overnight a few times. Nothing compared with what I see in America. I don’t know if that’s affecting you, but I’m not sure I’d leave the house with the freezing they’re talking about.

      • I probably shouldn’t have said won’t eat, it’s more like I’ve tried it and don’t care for it. The other thing on that list is lobster.

        If I were home in south Texas the weather wouldn’t be affecting me too badly, but here at my mother’s it’s a bit colder. We’ve had 3 days now of sustained sub-freezing temps. I’ve had my own bit of ‘cat drama’ to deal with here. My mom’s cat is strictly outdoors and being worried about him surviving the extreme cold I set him up in one of the out buildings with a heater. I can’t tell you how much he hates this! He makes it apparent each time I go out to check on him by meowing like he’s being tortured. I’ve peeped in on him without him knowing to see him curled up asleep on some bedding I set up for him, but if he does see me he instantly becomes quite pathetic. Luckily the weather is turning MUCH warmer today and he’ll get to be set free again.

  6. I bet sprouts make good coleslaw, as you seem to eat a lot of that as well as quorn.

    I don’t mind sprouts but we went for an Indian (meal) a few days after Christmas and I had a Chicken Tikka with a vegetable curry sauce. The sauce tasted awful then I realised they had used sprouts in it. …..sprouts and curry do not go together, believe me.

    Love Denise.

    • I don’t think there were any sprouts in our shop-bought coleslaw. I love the crunchy texture. We only really have the Quorn roll at Christmas – used to be nut loaf – and I don’t each that much other Quorn. I used to get the frozen (none-Quorn) vegetarian mince, but then there was some scandal the supermarkets don’t want to talk about when it was suddenly removed from all shelves of all supermarkets for many, many months. I’m on Holland & Barrett dried Soya mince now, like in my old Birmingham student days.

      I’m not sure I’d like curried sprouts. The best curry I had – near the old BBC – had ladyfingers, of okra, and that was wonderful. I persuaded friends to go back there to have it again.

  7. Thanks for liking one of my recent posts. It means a lot to me.

  8. I love that cat, adorable the way he exposes his furry tummy and tucks his head upside down, clearly relaxed and trusting.

    • His furry tummy is one of his best bits. A lot of our other cats are less rounded and padded they way he is. Although he’s not fat as since he’s arrived he’s been losing weight and I can’t feed him more than I do now!

    • Thank you so much for the compliment, but I retired (gracefully) from the Award thing a good while ago. Many thanks for thinking of me though.

      p.s. Your name leads to a duff History101 blog which I’m guessing is not the one you use now. Not sure how you’d change that. Not sure at all. But just letting you know.

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