The downside of Xmas food

Yesterday was spent primarily eating. Eating anything and everything that was available.

I was our chef de cuisine, so I got to choose, but also cook our xmas feast. And while I’m very pleased with how it al turned out, in retrospect I’m a little disgusted by the sheer volume of food I consumed.

nibblesIt started with a lovely breakfast / brunch of smoked bacon and croissants, accompanied by extra-strong coffee. This represented the foundations of the rest of the day. As a meal, it contained fatty, fried meat, croissants made of about 80% butter and cups of liquid caffeine. Nearly all the main food groups.

We opted for a night-time “Christmas dinner” and so I made us a inter-meal selection of “nibbles”. When shopping for his last week, I somehow forgot there would be just the two of us and managed to buy enough food for a small family.

I was taken in by the M&S “special offers” – special, in that they’re aimed at consumers who have a special relationship with fat and sugar – and bought a selection of finger food that would embarrass even Homer Simpson.

Mini chicken kievs (delicious, but almost pure butter and garlic), mini beef pies, mini chicken and ham pies and mini sausage rolls (it would be rude not to). These were oven baked to perfection – even if I say so myself – and represented the perfect opportunity to ruin xmas by either scalding our mouths on molten garlic butter or spill beef and wine ragu on the furniture.

Neither occurred, so I mark this meal up as a success.

It was consumed informally. All lying on the kitchen worktop in baking trays, we each chose a small selection and placed it on a side plate. This would be have been fine, but each selection failed to even put a dent in the pile of food I’d created. So we ended up have several “small plates” of this party food over the period of about 90 mins.

We really, really needed some fresh air and general movement of our extremities, so we went for a walk around a very deserted Canary Wharf at about 3pm. Yes, I was mid-way through enjoying “Singing in the Rain”, but @FrankDJS isn’t a musicals guy (take that, gay stereotypes!) and the outside was attractive as it was neither raining or blowing gale force winds for the first time in about three days.

qualitystreetA walk and then some Skype calls with the families later, we began to ponder dinner. It was only 4:30pm, far too early to even look at turkey. So I did the only sensible thing and opened a massive box of Quality Street chocolates. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a box in my life, but they always seem to float about at family xmas celebrations, so it seemed odd not to get some.

I tore through these like a teenage cheerleader with an eating disorder. I was like a machine. After about half the box, combined with diet coke (I know, I know) I felt ready for anything. So we agreed, we’d aim for a dinner time of about 7:30pm.

turkeyDinner represented a mountain of seasonal goodies, including: roast turkey with stuffing and gravy, red cabbage, roasted parsnips, carrots and beetroot in maple butter and some random Yorkshire puddings that ended up in the Tesco online order. Not my choice and indeed my first time tasting them – but they weren’t bad at all!

Even if I say so myself, it was delicious. Yes, yes…the stuffing wasn’t a patch on my mother’s stuffing – next year, I’ll get her to send some down in the post. But for a first time xmas chef, I was proud of what I managed to get onto the table.

Now.

Most normal people would take a break at this point. We indeed took a short break, but it was scandalous in its brevity. On to desert, consisting of christmas cake and ice-cream and even more of the remains of the Quality Street chocolates.

I stumbled off to bed at about 10:30, wondering why I was so tired. Yes, it may have been the hours spent in the kitchen, but….no.

On reflection, it was the fact that despite my best efforts at recreating my traditional xmas experience, I’d left out one vital ingredient: I’d completely forgotten to fall asleep on the couch mid-afternoon.

No wonder I was tired – I’d been awake for 14 hours and eating solidly since. That’ll take its toll, even on an athlete (ahem) like me.

Now you may be tutting and shaking your head slowly at this point, wondering how I can abuse my body like this. But the true cost of this intake of calories wasn’t on my waistline. It was on my sleep. As a result of the sugar/fat double-whammy, I had a series of anxiety dreams last night.

The most surreal was the one where I was somehow supervising the A Level exams of a group of TV reality show people. Not only that, but one of my particularly difficult clients was co-supervising with me and making my life very difficult.

This was definitely food related. Probably the ice-cream.

And here’s the thing: Christmas isn’t over. There’s still a ton of food to be consumed today, including leftovers from the dinner and even more sausage rolls (they seem to be breeding in the fridge). We haven’t opened the Christmas pudding or mince pies and both will need to be accompanied by some of the pint of cream that remains unopened and, somehow, slightly mocking me.

So it’s eyes down for another day of food-related debauchery. As I’m in no way going to moderate my income, I’ll also have to brace myself for another night of anxiety dreams.

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