In food terms, the aftermath of a Kiwi Christmas is a bit strange if, like me, you’re having more of a ‘staycation’, and haven’t already removed every comestible in the kitchen. At this point, the fridge is full of all sorts of ingredients you don’t normally have – brandy cream; leftover stuffing mix; several pots of things you have to repeatedly reopen just so you remember what’s in there; about three separate halves of lemons – while the fridge is still so full, things fall out of it on a regular basis, but I’m running out of all the useful items that teenage boys seem to be able to make disappear.
Where are the 8 loaves of bread I hoarded in the freezer? The catering-sized tins of baked beans? How on earth did I go from at one point having 72 eggs, to now be scratching for just three, but yet I still have eight packets of crackers? These are the questions that flummox me.
Regular readers will know that I have a 13-year-old, very physically energetic son. When he’s here, he communicates in a series of grunts and signals that let me know when he’s hungry (always); when his mates are coming over and also hungry (almost daily/always) and when he wants something specific. “Omelette please Mum.” “Can I have rice?” (he eats 4 portions without blinking); “Any meat?” (cue him devouring every single erg of chicken and ham I own, while the beautiful stonefruit in the fruit bowl develops suspicious-looking black patches). I also have a 16-year-old daughter who manages to combine working in a restaurant with coming home absolutely starving because she’s had no time to eat. How does that work? She’s surrounded by food!
Confession time: I’m one of those people who always has enough food in the house to instantaneously feed a family of 20 at a moment’s notice. I’m the type who will see a bargain pack of chicken and bring it home, divide it into sections and freeze it. Bulk pack of ribs? Make a huge marinade, chop them up and Bob’s your uncle. Dinner for some Saturday in the future when I suddenly find myself with a table of 8 to feed – again.
But I digress. The point is, I love having people over to eat, and I love cooking for them. But sometimes, my limits can get a bit tested post-Christmas. How many uses are there really for a litre of brandy cream? (Yep it’s a lot of leftovers. That’s because we forgot to use it on the mince pies. Oops.) Sage and onion stuffing meatballs will work well with spaghetti (maybe), but I’m not sure the green glace cherries or the cranberry puree will enhance the dinner too much.
So, it’s back to the shops for me. Not because there isn’t enough food in the house to cope with an unexpected influx of rugby teams walking through the door. But because the meals I’m going to end up with if I just use what I have is likely to appeal only to those with absolutely no tastebuds whatsoever, or she’s pregnant.
Turkey, pineapple and banana roulade, anyone?