They all arrived late on Christmas afternoon, so there was no visit by Santa Claus to this abode. I think Dr P must have scared him off - he was a Bah! Humbug sort of person about Christmas. Sad, really. His spirit must be lingering still.
I managed a modest Christmas dinner, a stuffed turkey breast, which was quite delicious. In the olden days, when I was a child, I can't remember anyone ever mentioning turkey. Turkeys were strange, foreign and American. Chicken, or chook, as we called it, was a luxury, something we ate only twice a year, at Christmas and Easter. We had no idea then of how common and ordinary a meal chicken would become.
My maternal grandparents kept chooks, mostly for the hens and the eggs. From time to time new chickens would appear, pretty little balls of yellow fluff, which would soon be replaced by rather unsightly and unflattering white, brown or black feathers. My grandfather, who had migrated from the island of Korcula at the age of 16, firstly went to New Zealand, and some years later arrived in Australia. I don't know much about his early life. We only ever got the barest outline. He was an immensely strong man, and I think he came to Australia as the strong man in a circus. He stayed in Australia, and met and married my grandmother. They were poor. Practically everyone was. My grandmother told us how sometimes she would have to pawn furniture in order to buy food.
Years later, one of my sisters and her husband and I visited the island, and found some cousins. It was a wonderful and moving visit.
In those days most people had fruit and vegetable gardens. Food was very plain. Perhaps I inherited some of those genes, as I have always loved growing plants and foods. Although, my grandfather had the advantage of all that chook manure, and thus his results were much better than mine. Despite having moved to the inner city of Sydney, with a microscopic garden, I have squeezed into my garden space a bay tree, which flourishes the way they are supposed to, a kaffir lime, a lemon verbena, lemon grass, parsley, rosemary, a curry leaf tree, and mint, and am struggling to grow cumquats. It always seems possible, and desirable, to squeeze in one more plant.
I have no idea what the selection criterion was, but come the appointed time, my grandfather would kill a chicken, which apparently required a certain amount of stalking of the unfortunate bird. My uncle, generally a rather taciturn man, could on occasion be persuaded to give his impression of his father stalking, catching and slaughtering the unfortunate bird. However my grandfather's hands were too large to fit inside the cavity of the bird, and so my unfortunate grandmother had to clean out the innards. This put her off chicken.
Having roast chicken twice a year was most exciting, We all wanted the leg. My mother used to tell us, somewhat tersely, the a chicken was not a centipede.
Which reminds me of the old joke: what did one male centipede say to the other male centipede as the female centipede walked by?
Nice pair of legs, pair of legs, pair of legs...
My youngest grandchild is a grazer, who helps himself. Food is good if it can be regarded as a snack. If named as a meal, it becomes a very suspect dish.
You can't be too careful. Especially if chicken is an everyday dish.