Americans like to use capital letters, I’ve noticed, so I’m ignoring my own mental style guide when it comes to the title of this post (plus, you could argue it’s a proper noun, given the film reference). Grammar aside, you may be wondering where I’ve been these past couple of weeks. Nope, not gorging myself on turkey and mince pies in England… nor experiencing the slightly bizarre wonder that is “gourmetten” in the Netherlands… this Christmas, I was in Texas. And as we all know, everything is bigger in Texas.
A lot of people asked me beforehand what Christmas Day cuisine involves Stateside. Well, now I have the answer! Christmas morning began with the dubiously addictive “Creamed Chipped Beef” for brunch. I struggle to describe it in any other way than this: imagine chunks of dry toast topped with small, thin slices of a kinda cross between corned beef and ham (I told you it was dubious) floating in a thick white sauce (or gravy, as the yanks would probably call it) and dusted with ground black pepper. It’s odd. But strangely more-ish with a Christmas hangover and a mimosa.
Given the number of visitors and kids that showed up, the main meal was an informal buffet-style affair. We ate “spiral-cut ham,” which sounds more complicated than it is, and turned out to be a whole glazed ham that had been pre-cut around the bone to make it easier to serve. On the side were enormous dishes of Mac ‘n Cheese (or macaroni cheese, as the Brits would call it), king crab dip with crackers, and various salads.
My Christmas pudding (imported from Waitrose, despite a run-in with a customs official) almost made an unscheduled appearance on the buffet table, when we all discovered that “pudding” means something very different in American English than it does in British. (Apparently, pudding in America is like cold, flavoured custard – who knew?) Luckily, I rescued it to the steamer, whipped up some brandy butter, and did the usual Try-Not-To-Set-The-Curtains-On-Fire Trick with a lighter and a pan of warm brandy. My boyfriend’s dad ate third helpings, so I guess it was a hit!
We stuffed ourselves until the Texas Effect kicked in (i.e. we got bigger). As you do.