Christmas is fast approaching and the cookbook industry is selling hard. The season is used as a marketing tool to sell the perfect lifestyle and provide a guide to the perfect day. What is bothering me is the profusion of Christmas cookbooks. There’s one by Nigella, Delia (of course), Gordon, Jamie, The Hairy Bikers, and the WI, just to name a few.
Since when has Christmas become a foodie event where we are sold the idea that we have to deliver the perfect meal day after day during the festive season?
I understand the need to plan and want to provide a decent, tasty meal. We usually end up with eight to ten people at my house all expecting meals for three to four days. That amount of food supply doesn’t appear out of nowhere. However, I refuse to play the game where as well as hosting Christmas, I’m expected to produce restaurant standard food at each meal.
It’s the family coming for stay – not a Michelin judge!
I like food from different countries and am more than happy to indulge in a little cake baking. To cook like this using different techniques and ingredients I would need a cookbook. But the Christmas cookbooks are selling an image, a need to create something out of the ordinary, because most of the recipes give or take a few twists would feature in a classic British cookbook.
Somebody is obviously buying these books else new ones would not be released each year but I wonder how many people actually use them. Magazines frequently give away potted recipe guides for Christmas Eve – Boxing Day. I know because I’ve read them. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked anything from them though apart from one year when I felt I really had to try to find something to make sprouts taste a little more pleasant. Other than that, and varying the choice of roast occasionally, I think most of the country cooks the same meal, and there are only so many ways of doing that.
Is it just a British obsession?
Maybe people in countries all around the world are busy pouring through recipes planning their ideal Christmas menu. If you find them really useful, let me know. If not, and you’ve succumbed to the hype in previous years, there’s always the charity shop.