Post-Christmas, or how to lose weight on leftovers.
Sat, 29 December, 2018
Christmas now has almost been and gone. Almost - but I am quite suspicious of that ‘twelve days of Christmas’ malarkey which is nothing else but the license to go out and quaff more cocktails followed by more chocolates on account of it ‘still being Christmas’. I guess people naturally want to extend the festive period and the dispensation to eat and drink more than it’s sensible.
If only they thought the season of goodwill should be extended too and were nice to each other! But no - this morning a bloke in a huge Beemer cheerfully reversed right into my nose, nearly, and didn’t make even a token apologetic gesture. I think these days, and outside of Christmas, all goodwill is reserved for kittens, dogs in hats and assorted young of random species. I am rather thoroughly sick of them by now.
The time between Christmas and New Year, those ‘twelve days’ (they aren’t even twelve!) are weird, especially in the UK. We have the Boxing Day on the 26th December, the day put aside for treating hangovers, eating leftovers and suffering pushovers who we’d carelessly invited round three months ago (the leftovers are certainly the nicest of the three). After the Boxing Day it’s a period of strange limbo: not many people go out to work, at least the likes I know (sheltered?). The sales are on but who on earth still cares about sales if the prices of everything are permanently reduced? Check out CamelCamelCamel… And no one actually goes out to real shops any more.
Foodwise, we’re eating leftovers, as mentioned. Prior to Christmas, I always imagine the fantastic elaborate feasts I’ll be concocting, all involving curried turkey soup, salted pine nuts and filo pastry cigars (and that’s just one dish!), but when the 27th or 28th rolls around, cold meats with set gravy are frisbeed out of the fridge and onto the table, with the massive effort of cooking a broccoli head as a side demanding to be appreciated. When the carcasses are eaten clean bar a shred or two that nobody can stand the sight of any more - those duly go into the freezer to wait for a sausage roll opportunity - we crave things that basically cook themselves and contain no more than 5 calories.
Fish is one of those things (unless you overdid on the Christmas Eve fish pie, like me), especially if we can get away with no potatoes or rice and just a salad or a few green beans for side. Pasta, funnily enough, is another - especially if it’s meatless, it won’t bloat you. Always, ALWAYS include a tin of tomatoes on your pre-Christmas shopping list.
The best are vegetable concoctions - opening the fridge, finding a few borderline wilted veg, chucking them into a dish with butter and copious amounts of cheese, that’s the most rewarding post-Christmas food preparation.
But that semi-clean living lasts only for the limbo week until the 31st, when we unleash the inner party animal again and drink and eat as much as the waistbands and neighbours allow. And it’s good, all good - as long as we remember to renew our gym membership next week, the one we let drop in early March…