A break from the ordinary

Even though the idealist in me wants to reject it, Christmas holds dear memories and sentiments that I would like to hold on to. As a child I would be excited for weeks leading up to Christmas eve, could not wait to see what presents would lie under the Christmas tree. And the tree was special too. Being asked in office whether my family was a “real tree” or “fake tree” family, I proudly proclaimed “real tree with real candles!”. And I’m not exaggerating. There would be a pine tree, carefully chosen to have firm branches, full, yet widely spaced enough to allow real candles to be put on it, without burning the top branches off. Real little candles, either white or red (the whole tree should be coordinated in one candle colour!) in little metal clip on candle holders which could be golden or silver in colour.

The decoration would consist of various odd ornaments straying as far away from shiny baubles as possible (my mother would think they look cheap.. I can’t say I share her sentiments, but oh well that’s what parents are for). My mother was a fanatic when it came to protecting her own childhood memories and German Christmas traditions, and wouldn’t compromise one bit. So we had straw ornaments shaped like stars, angels and snow flakes, as well as some other bits and pieces, wooden angels, bells and wreaths. No tinsel, no electric lights and certainly no Santa in sight! (Oddly enough we did have lametta which in my book is just tinsel which isn’t tied up. But somehow my mother approved)..  Instead, the traditional decoration was offset by shiny, foil wrapped chocolates or mini wreath shaped chocolates with white sprinkles on them. It was the greatest thing in the world, being able to walk past the tree, and sneakily rid it of one or two chocolates, without anyone noticing (because there were so many!).

So that is my rationalisation, my reasoning for making Christmas a bit special, even if the atmosphere of it has been altered with all the shopping propaganda we get fed. My tree is still real, I bought one in a pot, hoping it would survive in order to be kept and reused (although the label says it will not live because the roots are too limited.. I’m still hoping!) It still has decoration on it which people may find odd; lots of straw. The odd Kashmiri paper mache hand painted painted star, but still some shiny, glittery baubles I could not resist. And electric lighting. I don’t care if candles are supposedly nicer. Electric will do for me.

But the real idea of having a special Christmas is not the tree. It is the company and the food. My company is already taken care of – just the two of us, spending some quiet days without office and other nonsense to worry about.. The food was more difficult. Apparently all of the UK eats turkey on Christmas day. I have nothing personally against turkey, but it just isn’t very flavourful to me. Just a big old bird, that cannot be marinated fully because the meat is too thick. And plus, what are two people going to do with a whole turkey. So it had to be something smaller. Something more special.. Chicken is of course smaller, has better marinating possibilities, but it’s not special to me.. If you’re going to look for special birds, it has to be either duck or goose, something you would not eat every day…

My irrational, short-attention-spanned mind however wanted something much more unusual. Something without wings, yet small enough to have a full animal on the table for just two people. The only possible conclusion I could come to given a limited budget as well as time frame was : Rabbit. For some reason, in this country, rabbit is seen as something odd to eat. Apparently it is budget meat (well I certainly didn’t find that so much while buying it – chicken is much cheaper), and not readily available. But to me, simply because it isn’t that available, and I’ve never cooked it before, it seems exclusive and special. A break from the beef, lamb, chicken and occasional pork we eat every day. Something that lived and grew up in the wild, and is now going to be enjoyed, just one special night this year.

Considering I live in a place surrounded by Halal Butchers that will sell only skinned chicken, lamb and goat, I had to travel a bit and hunt for my rabbit. Although not armed with a gun and surrounded by some dogs… My hunting ground became Borough Market. And I was victorious. My weapon was a wallet with £5 in it. And now my prey is awaiting preparation in my fridge. I will try my best to remember and click some photos while making it.. That shall be the topic of my next post…

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4 Comments »

  1. sandysays1 Said:

    Don’t you think those sentiments are a positive thing? I don’t think they’re harming you. Relax. Visit me at http://www.SandySays1.wordpress.com and read “Claus and the Consultant,” for some holiday laughs.

  2. hedonist666 Said:

    Well I’m not sure, not accustomed to referring to anything as being a positive thing. Irony and sarcasm are my preferred way of expressing emotions… Oh and I am very relaxed.. looking for some recipe which speaks to me to cook that darned rabbit I bought simply because it was not a chicken or turkey… 🙂 Thanks for commenting though.. 😉

  3. odzer Said:

    @ Hedonist : Oh you have been swept away by the Christmas Gezelligness of it all. I did enjoy this post of yours a lot especially the description of your childhood Christmas tree. In a way you should be glad that your mother was such a stickler for tradition. It is perhaps for that reason that you still have such fond memories of it. I am curiously looking forward to your rabbit. So here is wishing you both Merry Christmas!

  4. hedonist666 Said:

    Oh yes, I tried to resist but deep down I just want to be a child again 🙂 Plus, walking into the living room and looking at the tree burdened with a whole lot of sparkly crap makes me smile. Merry Christmas to you too 🙂


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