#2 son has declared that the three most important things about Christmas are the feast, the presents, and fun time with the family, not necessarily in that order. Presents are all settled, we are having lots of fun, and now we also have the feast in hand.
Our Christmas Eve feast is a modification of the reveillon, the traditional French meal following midnight mass. We do not have midnight mass, so we start the feast — as we always did when I was a child — much earlier. But it is still very central to our celebrations.
We are having the local meat market make us a tray of meat and cheese, and the local French bakery is doing us a Buche de Noel (I can’t figure out how to make the right punctuation on my computer, but you know what I mean), some wonderful whole-grain breads, pate maison, and cornichons. We have been baking and making candy for days, and #1 son is in charge of crackers and chips and other such American additions. Some good raw fruits and vegetables, and we will be set.
It is wonderful to have a local butcher and baker. The butcher knows what kind of meatitude the kids prefer, and the baker (in charge, of course, of sweetitude) is kindly making a special version of his Buche de Noel which is kid-friendly — no liqueurs, and it is, he says, the flavors that kids like the best. It is wonderful to be able to walk in, greet the nice people, ask them to look after us, and leave in confidence that all will be well. I will be working on Christmas Eve, but #2 daughter will take the boys and visit the shops to pick up the goodies.
For Christmas day, we will go to grandmother’s house. I am making a mince pie, but this will be no effort, because we got the freshly-made filling from the afore-mentioned butcher. Grandma and Grandpa will make a ham and vegetables, and we will exchange our handmade gifts. I intend not to think about triglycerides at all till Epiphany.
What better song for a feast than “The Boar’s Head Carol”? This was published in 1521 by Wynken de Worde, and has been sung in Queen’s College at Oxford so steadily ever since that this tune for it is usually called the Queen’s College version. Here it is sung by the King’s Choir:
Or, if you want the lyrics and melody so you can sing it yourself:
Do you feel the need for an artificial boar’s head to process around the table with? If so, click on this link and you can order one ready-made.
We are still working on grandparent’s gifts, and #2 daughter’s childhood friend is coming over today so they can finish up the cookie-baking. Knitting? I am still in some pain from the accident to my hand, so I took the opportunity to frog the Fair Isle, which has not in fact grown on me during my knitting hiatus. I’ll decide what to do with it after Christmas.