Sunday, November 26, 2023

Stir up Sunday

I'm finally beginning to feel like all the meds are doing some good and that I might be able to leave not just my sofa, but even my flat for longer than it takes to collect my post - which will be nice. 

I had planned to spend this weekend doing pre-birthday and Christmas things including starting some biscuit baking. None of that has happened and whilst in the greater scheme of things it doesn't really matter it's something I look forward to; a tradition that reclaims a bit of Christmas spirit from the madness of Christmas in retail. 

It's probably why I have such a weakness for books about Christmas - I have the River Cottage one, Nigella Lawson's take on it, Kate Young's Little Library version (a definite favourite) a Gingerbread cookbook bought for £3 in The Works a long time ago that's surprisingly good, Annie Rigg's Gifts From the Kitchen, Anja Dunk's Advent, and a whole lot more with Chrismas chapters. 

I have never hosted a Christmas - although I've helped with a few, and maybe never will for more than 2 of us, and have very mixed feelings about the day itself. There's never enough time to enjoy it properly, it really should still be a 12 day festival season, and it brings up a lot of complicated memories. This year it's the absence of my friend Lorna who discovered she had cancer in January. The last things we did together before we knew she was ill were Christmas shopping and present swapping. I have just finished the coffee she bought me and have almost burnt through the candle she gave me with it. She's very much on my mind as is the family she left behind.

The mixed emotions Christmas brings as we get older are part of why I've found making my own traditions around the season so important. Puddings were made at the beginning of the month, a little earlier than actual Stir Up Sunday - and it's not too late to make one yet if you want a crack at it. It makes your kitchen smell amazing. 

Not that it matters what the traditions are so much as that we make time to share good things with the people we care about whilst we can. The specifics evolve anyway as life keeps changing and maybe my biggest constant will end up being to buy myself another Christmas-themed book each year and daydream about the perfect celebration whilst reading biscuit recipes. Lizzie Collingham's The Biscuit, The History of a Very British Indulgence is therefore my recommendation of the day. 


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