“Half memoir, half travel, A Yank Back to England...is an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.”
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
To see the entire quote, click here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Brit’s Christmas in America

In Dickensian England, goose was the bird of choice for the big feast. When I was growing up in the East End, most families served turkey at Christmas or, in small families like ours, a capon, which is a fat and juicy, knackerless chicken. Since Christmas comes so soon after Thanksgiving, and perhaps because I am so far away from the Green and Pleasant, my American Christmas dinners are invariably roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, based on the traditional Sunday lunch.
For the uninitiated, a Yorkshire pudding is like a popover, only better. Sometimes made with beef drippings in a large tin, I prefer a pan with small indentations that proffer individual servings. This way everyone gets a pudding that resembles a golden, crusty well just waiting for lashings of rich gravy.
Mum was not always a bad cook, but she was always a surprising one. Sometimes her puddings would rise like golden mountain peaks, other times they would sit there, in a pool of meat fat, looking and tasting like a rubber bathmat. There was never any way of knowing in advance. Although inured to Mum’s culinary failures, we could still be buoyed up her erratic successes.
When it is done right, as it will be tomorrow, nothing can beat this classic Sunday lunch of a rib of beef, pink-to-rare on the inside, crusty on the outside, with a freshly made Yorkshire pud, crispy vegetables, as well as meltingly roasted potatoes and parsnips, and a little horseradish cream on the side. This feast is a thing sublime, with the looks, aromas, and flavors of Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled into one.
Merry Christmas. Eat and drink hearty!


Daffycat said...

Wishing you a very happy Christmas!

Anonymous said...

That all sounds delicious!!! Seems like happy times.... Merry Christmas!!!

atomicliving said...

I want to perfect yorkshire pudding this year AND consomme, but not together of course. We, tho american, were once british, but too far back to recall. Our ancestors messed about with boats and indians and rocks! But, some of their ways remain ours. We often have goose for xmas. Usually, having had turkey for thanksgiving it is a nice change. We, also, usually do plum pudding and there is always one with a thimble, ring, and coin inside and after dinner we all, on the count of three, race thru the piece with our forks looking to see who will get what in the new year! We also have xmas crackers, which I believe is an english tradition, and most of us continue our dinner with our little paper crowns on. This year was a 1950's themed christmas for us and everyone looked a treat! So, rather than the usual pudding, I did 1950's jello which I had never done, had mayonaise AND whipcream in, and was a horror, but it was authentic at least. I also made tomato aspic for the first time, tho it was in a 1950's manner from a 1956 Womans day magazine, so it was not as good as homemade could have been, but would be nice sliced on sandwiches. Sorry, I do go on, don't I, it's not as if I don't have my own blog to rant in, non? Well, Happy Christmas and have a bonne anne'e!

Shea said...

Late, Merry Christmas, and an early Happy New Year