Sometimes things go wrong. The best laid plans and all that can be thrown into total disarray for the most unforeseen reasons and, having carried out a recent poll amongst close friends, maybe I can make you understand the importance of pre-empting Christmas disasters.
Most of us can cook: although we may not in the league of genius then again, we all have at least one recipe which we claim as our signature dish. Most of our knowledge has been gained either by practice, by copying or by experience but sometimes however careful you may be, things go wrong.
Take Doris for example. Her first attempt at Christmas dinner could so nearly have ended in disaster. She planned everything to the letter, from ingredients to cooking times to presentation. On Christmas Eve, it horrifically dawned on her that her oven was too small for the Jurassic-proportioned bird she had so naively ordered from Mr Cleaver, the local butcher. Mr Cleaver had assured her that a 25lb turkey would be perfect for the four of them.
Luckily, a relative offered to cook the bird and bring it round on the day which would have worked perfectly had Edna not indulged in a few breakfast eggnogs causing her to trip and drop the bird on the road outside. With nothing else to do, they quickly scraped it up, transported it unseen to the kitchen and spent half an hour picking out the most obvious stones and debris. Surprisingly given the circumstances, Doris’s first Christmas dinner was deemed a triumph. No-one was any the wiser until many many years later.
Light Bulb Moment
Then there was the occasion when Chardonnay ran out of shallots while preparing her famous signature gravy at her sister Ava-Louise’s house. She asked sister if she had any more, eliciting a puzzled response.
“No, sorry, I forgot to buy shallots.”
“But I’ve just peeled loads of them!”
“Eh? Where did you find them?”
“In a bag on the floor, next to the fridge.”
“WHAT?? Those are my spring flowering bulbs I bought from the garden centre last week!”
“Alexa, are daffodil bulbs poisonous?!”
They’re not by the way.
Praise to the Caterers
I’ve muddled through over the years but this year, I am praising the caterers for the following reason. Having been lumbered with hosting Christmas dinner this year, I decided to ask the guests, all family, for their preferred choices.
My eagerness to please soon turned to horror as it dawned upon me that I was in no way, shape or form cut out for mass catering. Within our close-knit family, one is fully-fledged vegan, two vegetarian, one caffeine intolerant, two lactose intolerant and one is borderline type 2 diabetic. One suffers from coeliac disease, one from Crohns, another can’t eat gluten and two won’t eat ANY vegetables WHATSOEVER. Put any form of nuts within smelling distance of the mother-in-law and one of us will need to be sober enough to apply an epi-pen.
A frantic group chat to sympathetic friends solved the problem. Last minute booking for twelve at the local hotel it is. I am simply not prepared to take the risk. Let the experts take the strain.
So if you are eating out this season, make sure you appreciate what it takes to cater for a diverse clientele in terms of training and learning and applying the knowledge to produce mighty fine food for all. And if you are a caterer, just make sure the Rational oven is Christmas ready!
Have a wonderful Christmas from the team at AC Services (Southern).
NB All names have been changed to ensure a happy family Christmas!