Yes, Christmas comes but once a year, though it comes and stays for a very long time. Mince pies started appearing in supermarkets in these parts in late September – and of course I bought some. Why do mince pies have a star on them? Is it the star of Bethlehem? Did the wise men come bearing mince pies? There seems to be no biblical authority for this.
And t’other day - November 7th to be precise - I was getting on a train at Liverpool Street, and in need of a sandwich I bought a Turkey Feast baguette from an Upper Crust shop.
I ate it on the train. I had one of those little fold down tables in front of me, and if I’d been at home I’d have dissected the contents to see exactly what was inside, but that didn’t seem quite right on a crowded train. So I looked and I tasted and I made my best guesses. Actually in other circumstances it might have been hard to guess that the sliced meat was turkey, it could have been chicken or even ham.
There was certainly lots of stuffing and I think those flakey bits you see on top are onion but I wouldn’t swear to it. There were also some leaves. Working out what else was in the depths was harder. There was sliced sausage – chipolatas I suppose - and I could taste cranberry sauce. And then I realized there was cheese in there, brie I think, though if they’re going all Xmas I don’t know why they didn’t use stilton. In fact I don’t know why they didn’t go the whole hog and shove a slice of Christmas pudding in there too.
I’m not really complaining, or at least only a bit – it went down perfectly well and it all gets mixed up in your stomach anyhow.
Was it festive? No, not exactly. Did it seem a bit early in the year for a Christmas sandwich? I’d say yes, but what do I know? I tell myself I can eat mince pies any day of the year and when they appeared in the shops in late September I fell upon them eagerly. Now, as we approach mid-November I feel I’ve already had enough to last me a while, possibly to the end of the year – although maybe I’ll get a second wind nearer to Christmas Day. I hope so, though the turkey I could probably do without.
On the other hand, I did just tuck into a Christmas pudding. Nice packaging
and a product that looked like an Xmas jelly.