It all started back on the night of my Long Table Dinner.
And it continued....
We went to a Christmas party at a restaurant were I ate a giant serving of beer battered fish and fat chips, after lunch, dark German chocolates and homemade chocolate fudge where passed around. Later that night my husband went on to his work Christmas party, he was served tasting plates of yummy food for almost three hours. I don't know how he got through the night. I didn't even eat dinner.
Two days before Christmas we went to another party, a bring a plate affair. You know what happens when you have almost thirty people bring a plate - lots of food! The problem? you need to try a little bit of everything. Cheese platters with slices of sourdough bread, spinach dip, crab dip, smoked salmon canapes, leg ham, roasted chicken, roasted vegetable salad, cous cous salad, potato and bacon salad and so much more that I can't even remember now. I ate trifle made with meringue and frozen white chocolate cheesecake for dessert. But there was more of that too: mince pies, a rocky road Christmas wreath, Christmas cake and two huge fruit platters.
We spent a lovely day with them, baking last minute Christmas cookies and preparing the food for Christmas day. It was nice to just hang out with them both, it had been a long time since we had done that. It was a casual and relaxed day, without all the pressures of Christmas.
For lunch we had our first ham sandwiches of the season. Make your own, with fresh white bakery bread. It was perfect. It was hot, this was simple and yummy. Dad likes things like this.
Later that night we went to my husband's family for what was to be a simple Christmas Eve barbecue. However it was more like a feast. More cheese platters - I think that these are the biggest problem at Christmas for me. So good, so moreish, so filling and eaten in the quantities that I have been eating them, so bad for you. We ate a beautifully marinated, butterflied leg of lamb, prawns, rocket and pear salad, fennel and broad bean salad, potato salad, all served with homemade pissaladière on on the side. For dessert we ate trifle made with raspberries.
It will be no surprise that I was dreading Christmas Day - food wise. I was kind of over it. But surrounded by extended family and good cheer, on the day, it seemed like the natural thing to do. After a frenzy of present opening, we ate a leisurely breakfast with my mum, her friend and my cousin, who I hadn't seen in five years. Another Christmas plate (a tradition on Christmas morning): panettone, homemade Christmas cake, rum balls, mangoes, cherries, peaches.
By noon, the Christmas table had been set and out came a wonderful cheese platter, dips, pate and champagne cocktails. There was eleven of us for lunch this year, at the kids request we set the tables up like my party, then put all of the food inside, buffet style. Mum's delicious roast pork, ham, my Aunt's succulent roasted chicken, cucumber and mango salad, Mum famous potato bake, rocket and pear salad and cous cous salad. Much later, after more present opening, we ate dessert: frozen chocolate cheesecake and Grandma's plum pudding and brandy custard. I think it was about 4 o'clock. That's sounds about right for Christmas, doesn't it?
Everyone was gone by 5pm, my husband did what all husbands do on Christmas Day, he went to bed and slept until 9pm. I tidied the kitchen, fed the kids a ham sandwich and put them to bed early.
On Boxing Day, we did it all again.
In March of this year, my cousin moved to the area. It was so lovely to spend some time with her and her extended family this Christmas. I don't think we have spent a Christmas together since we were children. So we ate some more: There was another cheese platter and more dips. Prawns, ham, roasted chicken, Greek salad, baked potatoes. There was caramel tart and more trifle... and I ate it all.
I don't think I have mentioned the amount of wine and coffee drunk or the amount of Santa chocolate I have eaten. Guess what - too much!
So yes, the season has been gluttonous, but with all of this food comes love. Well, at least in my family it does. Sharing good food with the people we love is important to us. For me, that's what Christmas is all about. Over the last few weeks we a have shared meals with new friends, old friends and very special members of my extended family. Special people from my childhood, by my side, as if a day hadn't past, let alone years.
Love - that's what it's all about.
But don't think we are stopping for one minute. I have just got off the phone from my cousin. We spoke of our plans for tomorrow nights New Years Eve party at our house (don't get too excited, the kids will be outnumbering the adults) It's going to be big!
And guess what, there is going to be way to much food!
What have you been eating this Christmas? Have you eaten too much?