Thursday, 27 November 2008

Cold Turkey

Christmas dinner for four at under £10 is on offer from some shops. Ever since seeing it I've been considering how that can be possible. Economies of scale, industrialised production... even so , while feeding four for under £10 is perfectly feasible for a run of the mill meal, Christmas dinner is supposed to be a feast - THE feast of the year.

A feast has many courses, is made of the finest ingredients, includes foods that are costly as part of the show and part of the pleasure of eating a rare treat, and is an exhibition of the esteem in which the feasting are held by the feast-giver.

Giver. That is the heart of a feast. A gift. Generous to the point of profligacy, offered with joy, appropriate to the occasion, bringing gladness to the company, creating a separate time where care is put aside. A glorious lighted interval in the dark of winter to be looked forward to and worked for, and to be looked back on with happiness created, and the inclusion that gift-giving and accepting creates. And that is not to be achieved by offering a slice of turkey and a mince pie ready meal.

Poor? Save up for it. Unable to candy fruit, make a galantine, cook brussels' sprouts to taste of chestnuts, ....Practice. Don't like the cheap contents of the crackers? Replace them with something better (and funnier jokes). Don't want to? Then don't.

The thing offered by the supermarkets is a cultural insult. I can do insults for under £10.

Most of us can do insults for free.


Old BE said...

In the old days before Something For Nothing, the poor would save up for it or have something nice but within their means. Even during the worst of my parents' financial crises we still had a brilliant Christmas dinner - they insisted on it. These days many "poor" think they should be able to get their Christmas dinner and still have enough of their Giro left to get pissed on Christmas Eve. The supermarkets are only catering for that attitude, they did not invent it.

Calfy said...

There is a large inner thrift in me who can't resist the absurdly cheap. But surely just the loving cup and toasts for four would cost a tenner!

Here is the other end of the scale- feed ten for half a million:

For my cousin's marriage last year the wedding list was at Harrods. A single pillow case or side plate would set you back about £100, and the final item on their list was a grand piano for 15,000. They didn't have any food to speak of at the reception though.

Bill Quango MP said...

Ahh.. but a chap who is working for me, until 1st Jan only, has decided for reasons of no cash, to have a large chicken as the main bird this year.
He has 5 children and no work in sight until May.
So chicken it is.

hatfield girl said...

A large chicken can be a very fine bird - particularly if supplied plucked and cleaned but with head and neck, innards, and feet in a separate wrapping. These last will make consomme, chicken liver spread, and stuffed neck, ( a more elegant form of brawn) as well as the roast bird with forcemeat stuffing, homemade sausages flavoured with allspice and cloves, and crispy strips of fat pork used to protect it while roasting.

All you need after that is the vegetable trimmings the marrons glacees, the marzipan and candied fruits, the cheese and the tangerines.

And the wines.

Not £10. But just possibly under £50.

Good man, your man, BQ. He's obviously planning ahead.

Electro-Kevin said...

A very important comment here, HG.