Frying bacon in goose fat
It's Christmas time again. I can't say I'm a great fan of Christmas. The enforced fun, the endless invites to parties, the queues at the supermarkets to buy huge quantities of food that nobody will ever eat. It all just leaves me cold.
Don't get me wrong - we do put up a tree, and do send out cards - I just don't really go in for the boozy nights out and the artificial inflation of my mood to match the artificially inflated moods of those around me. We're not all happy at Christmas and no amount of painting on of smiles and singing of carols is going to force us to be.
Christmas doesn't make me unhappy. It doesn't make me feel anything to be honest. It washes over me as I hide away from the work parties and drunk people on the tube of an evening. I isolate myself from it as much as is possible.
Earlier this week I was in Starbucks and after I had paid, the guy behind the till did this strange manoeuvre towards me. Pointing at me with both hands and cocking his head sideways like a 1980s gameshow host introducing a glamorous lady sprawling over a sports car. "Have a Happy Christmas" he bawled at my across the till. I did not reply.
It's that kind of thing which gets to me. It's the enforced nature of Christmas rather than Christmas itself which irks me. I don't burn tinsel or stick pins into effigy of Santa on Christmas Eve. I just prefer to let Christmas happen, enjoy the decorations and don't feel the need to bounce along to Jingle Bells in time with those around me.
As I write this, it's late afternoon on Christmas Eve. I've been to the gym and to the supermarket. Twice. I went to Waitrose and only after I'd paid did I realise I'd forgotten eggs and bread. And by that point I was carrying too much shopping to lug it all back around the shop again, so I headed home, dropped off the shopping and then headed out to Sainsburys to pick up some eggs and bread. Waitrose was relatively pleasant. Lots of people picking up the odd few bits for Christmas. Sainsburys, on the other hand, was like a war zone. I witnessed two people throwing packs of nappies at each other, and another two people almost come to blows about who was first in line for the self-checkouts. Why do people do that? It's only two days. Nobody is going to starve if you have an inch of spare space in your fridge come midnight tonight.
We don't usually keep bread in the house. It's not something we usually eat. But we like to do a proper English breakfast on Christmas morning, and you can't do that without some French toast, can you? Oh - my tip for the perfect English breakfast - call it my Christmas present to you. It's this - fry your bacon in goose fat. Trust me. Sounds unhealthy. But tastes absolutely bloody lovely. Go on, treat yourself. It is Christmas after all.