It was probably a bad sign that the only Christmas carol I enjoyed this season was Shane McGowan and Kirsty MacColl singing "Fairytale of New York". But when I was sitting at work on me tod on Monday morning, the carols on the ABC were just wearing me down. There are only so many damned silver bells one can cope with.
I'm not sure whether it was related, but Christmas dinner got off to a bad start this year. I think it was because before it was cooked, it looked like a vacuum-sealed arse. I mean really, doesn't this look like something you'd see pressed up against the passenger window of a Torana?
After last year's debacle, I'd lost the taste for turkey. The wings are always singed, the legs are usually over-cooked and no-one really likes cranberry sauce because it tastes like strawberry jam. I'd blocked out the full horror and was just left with a little voice in my subconscious that kept whispering, "Chicken's nice. Cool chicken."
"Mmmm," I thought, "Boned chicken stuffed with yummy gear like bits of cured pig and bread." (Not, of course, remembering that I'd done the bits of cured pig and bread thing last year when I cooked Big Bird.)
The butcher (yes, yes, the same bloody butcher as last year - I never learn!) said that he only had chooks that were about 2.4kg before boning. This boning had absolutely nothing to do with Eddie McGuire or any other Channel Nine exectuive. I should also point out that I'm bad with spacial things. I failed all forms of mathematics and 2.4kg really doesn't have much meaning for me. According to the vet's scales, Mr Furpants weighs just under 7kg, so 2.4kg can't be that much. Pffft.
So I wandered down to the butcher to collect two boned chickens on Pissmas Eve. Fark, it was like deja poultry! I dragged the mass of flesh home and rearranged the fridge to accommodate it without actually looking into the bag. As you do. There are other things to do on Pissmas Eve - drinking, for one.
Pissmas morning, I dragged out the mass of chook again in preparation for stuffing and found it was actually a vacuum-packed bum. Chicken my arse - it was more like pressed ham. But I busted the chicken/bum out of the heavy-duty cling-wrap and set to. Usually, a boned chicken is quite easy to deal with, but for some reason, this butcher had been far, far too thorough. In fact, by the time I'd jammed it full of stuffing and tried to reshape it, it looked something like a Size 00 Wondersuit full of mince that had been mauled by a shark. Or perhaps just a headless, plucked penguin. Take your pick.
Me (phone, Mama Cap): "Gaaaahhhh!!! What do I do with it NOW?!"
Mama Cap: "Shove the stuffing in. Roll it up. It'll be fine."
Me: "Gaaaaahhhhh! I tried! It looks like a dead baby!"
Mama Cap: "Oh GOD. Not again."
Me: "And I'm out of disposable surgical gloves. You know I don't like to touch meat if I can help it. Do you have any?"
Mama Cap: "Yes, I'll bring gloves. What time are we having lunch again?"
Me: "An hour after you get here, I guess. Stephanie Alexander says it takes 45 minutes to an hour to roast a boned, stuffed chicken."
Mama Cap: "Didn't you decide last year she didn't know what she was talking about?"
Me: "Er, ye-e-ess..."
Why, in the name of Ford I didn't reread last year's Pissmas poultry post to refresh my memory before I started cooking this year, I'll never know. Obviously I'd just blocked out the full horror. Stephanie Alexander has now reached the top of my 'To Kill. Slowly' list. How that woman has sold so many cooking bibles is beyond me - none of her recipes work. Ever. I swear she leaves out ingredients and changes cooking times so that nothing goes right and you end up thinking, "Well, I guess I'm crap and Stephanie is just fantastic. Oh well. It wouldn't have been the recipe!"
Anyway, while I was waiting for Mama Cap and Big Sis to arrive to rescue the meaty section of Pissmas dinner (I can cook vegies - it's just animals that aren't minced or stewed that I can't deal with), I started making yummy little nibbly things. Said nibbly things were supposed to be slices of baguette with cream cheese, smoked salmon and Spanish onion with cracked black pepper. And it would have gone quite smoothly had I not seen this when I opened the cream cheese:
That's just wrong. Really, what the hell is it? A face with a very long nose? Very small, lop-sided boobs? I don't know, but by the time I'd seen that and the bum chickens, I was pretty much gone. Bloke had to bring me a stiff drink to calm me down. But then Bloke has also picked up the nasty habit of saying, "Speak up, O toothless one!" every time someone farts, which just kills me every time. He got it from one of his Saffie pals. ~snort~ Toothless one. ~snicker~
Anyway, the chicken was fine in the end, despite me thinking it was cooked when it was still largely raw. We (I) just had another (large) drink and then we (everyone else) had some more salmon and cream cheese thingies and everything was great. Actually, it was. No-one got smacked at the dinner table. The crackers contained the usual shite like a keyring with a picture of a retarded kid squeezing a cat, a manicure set and a small box of cardboard dominoes rather than a dead mouse, which is always a bonus. The pudding was (probably) lovely, since Mama Cap made it, but I despise Christmas pudding, so I can't really say. And Mr Furpants didn't bring back any half-dead rats while we were all sitting outside enjoying the twilight.
Ahh, Pissmas. Does it get any better?
Don't answer that.