This year was my first Christmas away from my family. As Oxford clears out over the break (undergrads unceremoniously evicted from their rooms, postgrads fleeing for home or warmer climes), I’d feared a lonely, tumbleweed-filled day.
‘I do feel sorry’, said Draco Malfoy one Potions class, ‘for all those people who have to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas because they’re not wanted at home.’
But there were actually quite a few who stayed on (particularly the scientists on mice-monitoring duty), and I’d dragged my friends down from Edinburgh, so we had a fun ragtag bunch to celebrate with.
I’d put us in charge of roasting. We didn’t quite take the same loving care that my Mum would (she follows Gordon Ramsay’s recipe and reverse-lipos the turkey, massaging a savoury butter under the skin and baking the sage-wrapped stuffing separately). Being on student budget, we eschewed turkey for 2 paltry [poultry – zing!] chickens and “followed” Jamie Oliver’s ‘Perfect Roast Chicken’ recipe ie. S&P’d the crap out of them, coated them in olive oil and bunged them in the oven for 1.5 hrs at 200°C. Miraculously, the birds and veggies turned out perfectly, and we didn’t need to invoke our back-up plan of smothering everything in a gravy/cranberry sauce disguise.
It was a total feast. That and eating leftovers for the last couple of days has turned me into a bit of a Butterball…
…so I think it’s about time to go go cold turkey (and cold pudding, sweets and alcohol) on all the festive fare. Well, until New Year’s anyway.