Friday 21 December 2012

Making Christmas

I will get the other pictures from my weekend away Ooop North posted soon, but at the moment I am busy in the kitchen, mainly, and doing the necessary housework to have everything tidy before our offspring arrive home.  We just have a quiet family Christmas here, as we live so far away from friends and relations.  Hopefully when we move that will change.  When we move . . .

I managed to catch The Wartime Farm Christmas programme the other evening, and recorded it so I can watch it again (probably whilst I am doing the ironing).  One thing that Ruth said really rang true - "You can't BUY Christmas - it's up to you to MAKE it."  How true this was  in war time when there simply WEREN'T any toys on sale for working class pockets (and those that could be found were often shoddy).  So it had, of necessity, to be a home-made Christmas. 

Now we are again in a time of austerity, many people have had to cut their expenditure and we are no exception.  I have made a number of presents again, and I have to say, it is SO satisfying to do so, even when one knitting pattern drove me nearly cross-eyed with concentration and has been much-unpicked. 

Now I have a busy weekend of baking ahead of me, and the usual Christmas traditions for food are being adhered to.  When I suggested to my son that I rang the changes on the usual Chocolate Roulade with raspberry coulis and perhaps did a Lemon Meringue type roulade, he said no!  Chocolate and raspberry it had to be . . .  I make it on Christmas Day and the cook's reward is to have a big slice of it for breakfast on Boxing Day morning : )

I have to say, I have tried to keep away from the shops during the run up to Christmas - especially grocery shopping as it irks me to see instant this and that going in shopping trolleys.  One of my pet hates is seeing people happily spending several pounds on a thick foil tray (throwaway) to cook the turkey in rather than spend a couple of pounds more and have a decent baking tray they can use every year . . . Then there are the jars of  pickled onions which are SO incredibly easy to make, jars of chutney, pickles, sauces etc.  But I dare say there is such a huge gap in the cooking ability between a grandmother in her 70s and a grand-daughter in her 20s and social differences which require people to be in full-time work. A childhood spent in  war-time austerity (when cooking skills were still handed down), then met in the 1960s and 1970s the beginnings of instant this and that and then the "ready meal".   Who would have thought that fish fingers and sliced bread were the thin end of a wedge that would ultimately make such a difference in the kitchen?

But this is starting to sound like a lecture and that wasn't my intention.  Have fun in your kitchen over the next few days and remember that old adage, whatever alcohol you put in your cooking, "one for the cook" is much-recommended too!


  1. This year I have truly enjoyed doing my wine and brandys and drunk fruit. It has been so fun, and as always, a learning curve. Then the adventure of finding beautiful bottles to present my creations.
    I will be baking a little this weekend too. Blackforest cake and some cinnamon rolls, and some bread.
    Have a wonderful weekend BB.

  2. Oooh, that baking sounds SO good. I'll be right round Vicki!

    Our eldest daughter has made spiced brandy for just about all her close pals this year, so it looks like she will carry on with the "home made pressies".

  3. I admit to peering horrified into people's trolleys in supermarkets. I'm astonished at the ready cooked roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. So cheap and easy to make at home and yet so expensive to buy ready made. (I was only in Tesco because Aldi had sold out of bread flour!)

    I think home made things are so much nicer and lovely to get as a present.

    Enjoy your Christmas - Itsy sends you a big furry hug (she's like a bear!) and a very muddy kiss.

  4. That foil tray thing drives me mad too. What a total waste of resources as I have no doubt they get chucked in the bin rather than being used again. Grrrr. Have a great weekend and Christmas! x

  5. I'm just about to ice the Christmas gingerbread and am also scrabbling about looking for extra bedding as Neil just rang saying that he is at Peterborough and will be here about 9pm! He was supposed to be arriving tomorrow and I already have Steve and the girls here overnight so it will be a full house. Wartime Farm Christmas was good wasn't it? My childhood Christmases in the late 40s/early 50s were not much different except that there were no V2s:) My food is still all homemade - the girls were highly impressed with the Christmas cake when they got here:) Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Jennie!

  6. Rowan - have a wonderful Christmas. Well, with the family there, it WILL be. I was thinking of you today, knowing that like me, you have the same Christmas routines and favourite dishes each year, and thinking, I bet Rowan is all sorted whilst you're rushing around like a headless chicken! Sorry I missed seeing you when I was up with Tam recently, but she had my days all organized. I may be up in February again, so perhaps we could meet up then?

    Em - it's one of my pet hates, I have to say, although it has been overcome recently by the "bunch of cabbages" for sale under the guise of flowers. Sometimes they are just padding, but when they are combined with roses . . . Ye Gods! Have a lovely Christmas my dear.

    Maggie - thank Itsy for that big muddy kiss. We buy very little from Tesco these days (on principle) but use Lidl, Morrisons and above all, individual shops as much as possible. Know what you mean about the "instant" roasties and Aunt Bessie's . . . Then there's the instant mashed potato, pre-cooked rice, pre-cooked anything really!

    Have a lovely Christmas with your family.

  7. If I don;t get back before Christmas, I would like to wish you and your family, a very happy holiday, with good health and much happiness for 2013.

  8. Kath - and to you too my dear.

    denim - eating like a horse, but nose still a bit snotty and I think he has ear mites. I was hoping to avoid another visit to the vet but needs must . . .

    1. I am so glad. Have a wonderful Holiday season and many blessings upon you and yours.

  9. I'm a little late reading your post but it did so ring a bell with me!
    I was reading recently about a housewife in the past and found myself feeling envious that she could stay at home and cook and make and not have to go out to work...Hmmmm so much for progress.
    Hope you had a very Happy Christmas,
    Jane xx

  10. Happy new Year Jennie, I hope 2013 sees all your plans come to fruition.
    I can't access your new Wordpress blog, I wondered if you had decided not to use it and carry on here?

  11. Kath - will carry on with this blog once we have our phone line/internet restored.

    Thank you John : )

    Jane - I am glad I was able to be a stay at home mum . . .