Cauliflower is traditional, Mum.

My Mum used to do a fat cauliflower cheese every year at Christmas, then she just stopped, and pretended as if she never used to in the first place . I asked her about it the other day and she honestly looked at me bewildered and said “Since when do we do cauliflower cheese on Christmas day?” I’m not sure if i’m going crazy, if my memory of a creamy, hot cauliflower cheese sitting on the dining table alongside the pigs in blankets is just some sort of festive Mandala effect, or if she just can’t be bothered to make it anymore, and wants to convince everyone she never did it in the first place. No one else remembers it being there either, so i’m not sure if I just absorbed the “Cauliflower is traditional” concept from that episode of Peep Show, and projected some sort of false memory onto the Weir family Christmas Dinner.

We didn’t even have trifle last year. Why? Because my Nan (a lifelong trifle lover), has decided at the ripe old age of 96, that she doesn’t like it anymore. Her and I were the only ones that kept this tradition alive, as no one else was that bothered about it (although they would eat it), and now in the wake of her betryal, I have no case to make when suggesting it for a Christmas day pudding. The worst part is, I know she still loves it, and is probably just saying it for the shock factor. “Nan doesn’t like trifle anymore? it used to be her favourite dessert! What happened?” Brilliant. Now i’ll have to learn to like Christmas pudding and brandy cream. I am 25, maybe it is that time to shift to a more adult dessert. I DID start to like Christmas cake a few years ago, so I guess I am maturing.

I can’t wait for the highly anticipated yearly discussion on how everything should be cooked. Dad, ever the gastronomical pioneer, will suggest to do the carrots in orange juice after reading some article in the newspaper about jazzing up your vegetables. There will always be talk of doing the sprouts with bacon, and it will never happen. The aforementioned cauliflower talk will take place again, I am sure. It’s always a drama, there will always be talk of going out for Christmas lunch, which will never happen (you’d have no leftovers). I’ve rocked the boat asking my Mum whether she will brine her Turkey this year – it’s a thing, apparently. She’s not, and seemed irritated I even asked. My sister is also a vegetarian now, so that’s a whole new box of frogs.

But of course, as my mum keeps reminding me, EVERYTHING will different this year. My brother and his girlfriend will somehow have to socially distance when they arrive and my Nan is high risk too. Thus, canapes are out this year as sharing platters are just too damn risky, can’t have all our grubby fingers jabbing at my little smoked salmon and creme cheese blinis. Its unfortunate as I already had my eye on a host of novelty frozen party food too. Fish, chip and curry sauce bites, Mac and Cheese bites, Satay Chicken skewers, Mini steak bakes, Mini beef and cheese koftas. A whole host of British tapas awaited me in the Freezer sections of Bognor Regis’ finest supermarkets, I couldn’t wait to do the rounds after my quarantine ended (especially as it was reduced to 10 days) but alas, its not to be this year. I had the audacity to suggest that we could still buy them and just do separate plates for everyone, but apparently it takes away from the spirit of canapes. So I guess I’ll just STARVE (between breakfast and lunch). Thanks a lot, Coronavirus.

If someone told me last year that when I came home for Christmas i’d have to stay inside for two weeks, and nobody could tell me I was lazy and antisocial for sitting around all day playing Sims 4, I wouldn’t believe you. It sounds dreamy, but very bizarre. If you said to me that this year i’d have to stay a metre away from my (already hard of hearing) Nan to talk to her i’d be like “u wot?”, and she will definitely be like “u wot?”, any time I say anything. The issue is, this will encourage shouting in order to be heard, which is hardly helpful in reducing the spread of germs. Furthermore, if you wear a mask, then its impossible to even lip read. Its a minefield. My sister downloaded an app that you can hold up in front of you to create a sort of “real time subtitles”, and I think it could be our only hope, although she didn’t exactly have great success the first time she trialed it. All in all, its going to be an interesting one, to say the least. Nothing like a global pandemic to jazz things up a bit.

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