We spent Christmas with Philip and Jackie at Max's grandfather's house in Boston, Lincolnshire (it is the namesake of Boston, MA, but this one has remained only a small town). We didn't do much these past 2 weeks except watch films (Les Triplettes de Belleville, Lawrence of Arabia, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Amélie, Lord of the Rings: ROTK, Billy Eliott and dozens more that I've wasted many regrettable hours of my life on) and stuff our faces with good food, chocolate, and booze.
On Christmas Eve we went to the Boston cathedral ("The Stump") to listen to the choir. Not being religious I felt uncomfortable about singing along, so I just listened and surreptitiously snapped photos. I enjoyed the first hour and the choir singing was beautiful, but by the second hour the pews were killing my ass and I found myself counting ahead on the program to see how many more praise jesus songs were left.
The greyhaired fellow in front of me reeked of booze, but he knew all the songs by heart. He disappeared about half way through.
We returned to the house and warmed up with mulled wine. Jackie cooked a light meal of tarts (crab and cayenne & ricotta and spinach).
We opened presents on Christmas morning.
I received the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman (which I'm obsessive about), shoes, pashmina, silk kimono style wrap, necklace, and the 15 Storeys High dvd. Part of my present to Max was the Gohatto dvd with Takeshi Kitano (directed by Nagisa Oshima, read more at Sex and the samurai).
Christmas dinner started with lemon ricotta and Whitby smoked salmon rounds and oysters. I had never eaten raw oysters before so I decided to give them a try this year; I didn't find them either repulsive or delicious. They whipped up a kind of tempura batter and lightly cooked the rest of mine which was much better. They were still slightly raw so the fresh taste of the sea wasn't lost, but had the stronger taste of cooked oysters which I love. Evidently everyone else did too because they all had some of mine.
The main course was roast wild duck from Lincolnshire with parsnips, potatoes, and puréed chestnuts. After dinner was the cheese, my favorites were the chèvre au poivre and the roquefort.
And finally there were several desserts: Jackie's French family recipe chocolate cake, lemon and ginger cake, a santa cake (which I stole the arm off of), and Christmas pudding.
All the best wine comes out at Christmas, but I can't remember at all what we drank now... only that it was good. :)
(Jackie went to Southall last month and bought this silk sari fabric to make the table runner and place matts.)
Grandad regaled us with stories of fighting in WWII:
"... after the war the German officer invited me to dinner with his family. After we ate I took his Kriegsmarine Dagger off of him because it had a swastika..."
"Grandad, that's stealing!
"No it en't, the dagger was illegal! He handed it over to me. Shame I didn't take one of those U-Boat flags in Hamburg too."
"Those are worth millions of pounds now."
Tongue stained with red wine.
It was a long day of boozing.
For Boxing Day (Dec 26th) dinner Max cooked a meal of Thai prawns and rice.
while boiling pasta pasta last night my roommate was watching chasing amy on tv. there was that scene where affleck and adams were sitting on the park bench talking about lesbian sex, and adams stuck her tougue out.
that just reminded me of that scene again.
I have you know that Boston used to be the second biggest port in the country after London! That was when ships were small and a lot of our trade was with Scandanavia. Damn America for being discovered....
The Stump's a cathedral?
I read about Boston being a big port in the past, interesting how things have changed. Whenever I say I'm going to Boston most people assume it's the one in Massachusetts.
True, I guess it's not technically a cathedral. Although compared to the typical small wooden churches in America it's far more impressive.
I'm not sure if I'll ever understand the appeal of eating them raw, but then I know some people who say they can't understand the appeal of eating them cooked. :)
Yes, Takeshi Kitano is famous in Britain. The best known Japanese actor and the second best known director after Akira Kurosawa.
I didn't know that about cooked oysters in Japan. How do you prepare them? We did a tempura-like batter for ours, but I've had them baked in champagne and also lightly breaded and fried in the past.
I have heard about Kitano being a comedian before, I think it shows in the subtle humour of his films. I have seen some old episodes of "Takeshi's Castle" which is... interesting. ;)
Gorgeous shoes! I've been meaning to get His Dark Materials for Rowan at some point, having heard a lot about it. (More specifically, for me to read to Rowan).
We were visiting Gill's grandparents the other day, grandad was telling us about his time in the war, stationed in the East End of London, shooting down German planes as they flew in along the Thames. He never left England for the whole war. He said "I don't like Germans. Or French". I was biting my tongue, and Gill diplomatically said "grandad, you can't say things like that nowadays".