The Christmas Production

Trip Start May 31, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Saturday, December 23, 2006

I know I am not the most sangfroid person in the world, but to be fair with myself, I only loose coolness when an agitated situation has elevated itself beyond any control. The series of unfortunate events that culminated in our emotional downfall on Friday, have subsided, and we are now ready to elevate our glasses - bursting with wine - and toast to Christmas.

After our debacle, we decided we were going to make the best of things, so we lifted ourselves up by doing the best thing there is for raising your spirit: Christmas shopping! Ed and I forgot all about not having electricity in our room, about the bank account situation, and about the shortage of liquid money and immersed ourselves in the stampede of Christmas madness in Oxford Street.

Christmas isn't Christmas without presents, so we decided we would get small presents for each other under £10. This rule was fiercely violated when I stepped into H&M and saw the cute array of possible presents for Ed. (I would like to make a special mention to my Visa credit card who has stuck by me during these difficult times: for your credited support and your overdrafting wisdom, I thank you!)

After I bought what I wanted for Ed, I came back to the spot where I had left him. I found him with a very pensive look on his face, almost distraught. I wondered and approached him: "you have no idea what you're going to get me, don't you?" He responded "no clue."

So while Ed followed me though Oxford Street with that same deeply confused look, I observed how people rushed about, pushing, shoving, nudging prodding, thrusting leaning, jolting, poking and zigzagging their way through the crowds. I managed to grab the arm of the still withdrawn Ed, and dragged him into Marks & Spencer, just before the fierce people-torrent carried him away forever.

We walked in the Foods section and I could already tell by the spicy cured scents that this was the place to be in if you were no gastronome but you needed to fake your home-made Christmas banquet. Perfect for us!

Ed steered the large shopping cart while I filled it : a Normandy full flavored creamy Brie and a pot of Italian bocconcini mozzarella with sun-ripened tomatoes marinated in tomato and herb oil dressing. We selected a lovely Portuguese Rosť wine to go along with the small Mediterranean tray of moist, tender vine leaves packed with savory rice, tomatoes, mushrooms and herbs. A basket of falafels with fragrant spices and coriander and a jar of Greek Kalamata olives lightly dressed in oil for starters. The two baguettes of fresh stone-baked bread would go divinely with the spicy red pepper Houmus with a hint of Greek extra virgin olive oil.

For the main course we hand-picked clusters of fresh peppery wild rocket and sweet lambs lettuce washed in ice cold spring water, to accompany the fillets of Lochmuir Scottish salmon drenched in black butter and sprinkled with ground black pepper.

For desert we agreed on a creamy vanilla cheesecake topped with a mixed berry sauce on a crunchy biscuit base which would do very well with scrumptious fresh blueberries. A clementine and cranberry fizzed wine for the Christmas toast with cherry bonbons covered in dark chocolate and bathed in sweet fiery brandy.

Once we were absolutely satisfied with our food fest, we made our way back home, trying to keep our gourmet supermarket bags from being crushed by the crowds in the Tube.  When we got home, Ed still had no idea what he was going to get me, but I think he was getting there: at least now he looked more alive.
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