"Quiet, seething resentment, dressed up in a cheap paper hat"
October 13, 2019 1:15 AM   Subscribe

With the population bitterly divided and only ten weeks left, the season of festive mystery meats, expensive toys, slightly cheaper toys, the 63rd Queen's speech, edible Colin and food for pets is thankfully (almost) here. This year the Yorkshire pudding wrapped Christmas sandwich will compete against the Yorkshire pudding wrapped turkey sandwich. Jodie has eight trees up (be nice) so it's time to stock up on marshmallow gin and mince pies. Lights are being turned on, claw-proof trees sold, ice rinks built, and advent calendars launched. Or head to Preston to experience Boyz on Block. Write your letters, view a display, put some Martin and Shirlie on the gramophone, be grateful for presents, drink your black forest hot chocolate then tuck in (more). post title
posted by Wordshore (48 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sorry, thought from the title this was the new Brexit thread...
posted by dudleian at 2:00 AM on October 13, 2019 [23 favorites]


I heard Boris Johnson was going to cancel Holidays forever.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:29 AM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Moving beyond that, is it wrong of me that I would like to try one of those Yorkshire Pudding sandwiches?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:34 AM on October 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


It's not even November.
posted by Dysk at 2:51 AM on October 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


I heard Boris Johnson was going to cancel Holidays forever.
I heard Boris Johnson was going to put in place a new holiday every month. Anything to win the upcoming election.
posted by winterhill at 2:59 AM on October 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


> "It's not even November."

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only Christmas.
posted by kyrademon at 3:12 AM on October 13, 2019 [19 favorites]


The retail year is divided into four seasons: pre-Christmas, pre-Easter, Barbecue, and pre-Halloween.
posted by pipeski at 3:53 AM on October 13, 2019 [24 favorites]


In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only Christmas.

Has anybody done a Narnia/Warhammer crossover yet?
posted by acb at 4:24 AM on October 13, 2019 [10 favorites]


Has anybody done a Narnia/Warhammer crossover yet?
Oh god I love/hate this so much.
posted by prismatic7 at 4:27 AM on October 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


It's probably worth remembering that Brazil is a Christmas movie. Or at least it's set during Christmas, which if the reputation of Die Hard is anything to go by is all that's necessary.

The only consolation for ending up living in Brazil is that the real Brazil is even more fascist.
posted by Grangousier at 4:28 AM on October 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


The only consolation for ending up living in Brazil is that the real Brazil is even more fascist.

Wasn't Brazil ruled by a military dictatorship when Gilliam made his eponymously-titled film?
posted by acb at 4:53 AM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


According to teh Wikipedias, the military dictatorship ended just before the film was released. In any case, Gilliam's film feels more like now than it did in 1985.
posted by Grangousier at 4:58 AM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oh mince pies. Before I relocated to the UK I thought mince pies always had meat in them (they don't). Now I recognize them as a harbinger of that classic English tradition of complaining about how early Christmas shows up in supermarkets. Note to US readers: there is no Thanksgiving in the UK to serve as a holiday bulwark against full-on Christmas prep season so it just creeps and creeps ever earlier. In a few years I fully expect it to leapfrog backwards over the "back to school" aisles and land squarely in July.
posted by tractorfeed at 5:15 AM on October 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


Note to US readers: there is no Thanksgiving in the UK to serve as a holiday bulwark against full-on Christmas prep season so it just creeps and creeps ever earlier. In a few years I fully expect it to leapfrog backwards over the "back to school" aisles and land squarely in July.

Note from a US reader: the Tide Of Christmas breached the Thanksgiving barricade long ago and we're starting to see precisely this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:31 AM on October 13, 2019 [8 favorites]


If you want something really... wow... for your boxing day drinks do, M&S can provide you with a luxury crudite selection, which is carrot, cucumber, red pepper and celery sticks and a small pot of hummus, in a plastic tray, for £6.

They also have "cheese cakes" (literal towers of cheese) ranging in price from £90 (for 50-70 guests) to £250 (number of guests not stated- if we go with £1.30 per head that's 190 guests). The £250-er is an architectural marvel. Cheese varieties not specified, but I quite fancy the central segment of what looks like a couple of kilos of Cathedral City.

On the big day itself, having been a naughty pescatarian for the last few years and partaken of avian flesh (as it was already being cooked, you know, and it is Christmas), this year I am sticking to my principles as a renewed strict lacto-ovo and will try Delia's Cheese and Parsnip Roulade with Sage and Onion Stuffing. Gravy options are giving me a headache. Onion and mushroom gravies are just not very nice. Could I be a little bit naughty and have some of the duck gravy? Or does that render my roulade meaningless- may as well just eat the duck meat as well as its juicy by-products? And with what to replace the traditional Christmas Eve smoked salmon on brown bread to have with bubbly and Carols from Kings? Much to consider.
posted by Balthamos at 5:43 AM on October 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


The cheese varieties of the cake are specified in the final gallery image. Central segment is indeed cheddar, but no brand specified.

I remain grateful in Poland the bulwark of All Saints is holding strong. Nothing but miles upon miles of grave candles and fake flowers. I remain in hope of enterprising sellers bundling them with first aid kits, because the cross-country journeys to take care of ancestral graves produce one of the biggest car accident spikes of the year.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 6:36 AM on October 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


I'm a retailer, and the tide of holiday adverts & catalogues from my wholesalers started arriving in feckin' JUNE.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:38 AM on October 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


It emerged a few years ago that my SO has a fairly rigorous set of dated seasons in her head, which I think it is fair to say are not generally otherwise recorded anywhere in the UK's cultural memory. These include:

Crumpet season: when it's reasonable to buy packs of crumpets. This has started, and I would tend to date it to the beginning of October.

Mulling season (cider): the period where a civilised person might reasonably warm up a bottle of cider (ie alcohol bearing apple drink) with appropriate spices. Roughly, starts in early November.

Mulling season (all): this adds primarily heating of wine but let's not limit ourselves. Obviously not beer, we're not animals. Legit from December 1st.

Mince pie season: clearly taking of mince pies before the start of December would represent the downward spiral into spiritual oblivion. The two months before that represents a form of testing or cleansing as we abjure the tempting boxes in the aisle at Sainsbury's.
posted by biffa at 6:51 AM on October 13, 2019 [25 favorites]


it's not even halloween yet, i banish this thread
posted by poffin boffin at 6:57 AM on October 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


I'm not proud and I'd probably die from it... But I'd drink that black forest cake hot chocolate.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:58 AM on October 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


Note to US readers: there is no Thanksgiving in the UK to serve as a holiday bulwark against full-on Christmas prep season so it just creeps and creeps ever earlier.

My local Walmart started stocking Christmas decorations a couple of weeks ago. Leaves are barely turning yet, for God's sake.
posted by palomar at 7:30 AM on October 13, 2019


I just want to vouch for mince pie as an American. Try making it, if only so the heavenly smell of mincemeat can warm your home.
posted by Selena777 at 7:47 AM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm a Christmas-loving goober who would gladly skip the entire fall/harvest season and I'm just glad there are people out there more into it than even I am.

Maybe I'll make some mince pies this year...
posted by kimberussell at 8:02 AM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Fuck, I miss being in Wales for the Christmas season. Perhaps next year.

I sort of want to make mince pies, but that also feels...inauthentic somehow? Goodness knows I'd just buy a few packs from Tesco, and then raid Lidl for enough stollen and Nurnberger lebkuchen to keep me on a sugar-high for weeks. Well, the local bougie grocery store tends to have a good British Imports aisle, so I can hope for the best, as I descend into seasonal nostalgia.
posted by kalimac at 8:10 AM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Last Monday I wandered into a King Soopers (local grocer) that was loaded for Halloween, followed in close order by wandering into Lowes Hardware which was similarly ramped up, but for Christmas. Looks like we have our pick in Denver. I think I'm gonna go for one from column A and one from column B.
posted by evilDoug at 8:44 AM on October 13, 2019


EvilDoug - the Costco in Arvada and Westminster had Halloween out mid August, and Christmas out mid September. At least King Soopers has piles of Pumpkins and a full aisle of spooky candy available still.
posted by jazon at 8:52 AM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'll admit I'm actually a little pumped for the onslaught of Christmas, because for the first time in my life I live in an area with Aldi stores and I am ready to throw down for one of those cheese advent calendars.
posted by palomar at 9:01 AM on October 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


Wordshore, I've missed your posts. It's not even close to time for me think about holidays except for holiday food, which should not be limited to holidays. I haven't even sent the Halloween package to my grandson. I love the idea of the Yorkshire pudding wrap, but they are so good hot from the oven, not sure about mass-produced. I don't like gin, and not likely to even encounter marshmallow gin, but thinking about it, realized that one could put a dollop of marshmallow fluff on Irish coffee or brandied eggnog, and flame it. If this works out, pretty sure there's a Nobel in it for me. Mince tarts - I have never made them, but maybe this is the year.

kalimac -being in Wales for Christmas sounds appealing. There is a Wales in Maine, but it wouldn't be the same.
posted by theora55 at 10:20 AM on October 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


Retailers don't promote Guy Fawkes / bonfire night?
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:43 AM on October 13, 2019


Ok, my dream has been to visit Britain for a solid three months from a time span running from late spring to summer. But that obviously must change to the holiday season. Damn the diabetes.
posted by moonlily at 11:31 AM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Retailers don't promote Guy Fawkes / bonfire night?

Its not got the huge retail potential of Xmas. Fireworks are a fairly limited market and apart from that its a few kinds of sweets, maybe a few other child oriented items. Not even as commercial as Halloween, which does get retail promotion, but not so it might interfere with Xmas stuff.
posted by biffa at 11:58 AM on October 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


Happy Brexmas, everyone
posted by Morpeth at 11:59 AM on October 13, 2019


Shop bought mince pies have gone downhill recently. I used to like bought ones just fine, but now a lot of them are just... too sweet. They've clearly replaced real ingredients with as much sugar and cheap palm oil as possible. They're not good. Home-made ones are the way to go, plus then you can eat them warm.

M&S puff pastry mince pies were still excellent last year though, and I ate far, far too many. For me the year is divided into only two seasons - mince pie season and hot cross bun season.

I did see a plastic Christmas Tree in somebody's window about a month ago and was trying to figure out whether it was a very early tree or a very late one.
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:03 PM on October 13, 2019


Traditional mincemeat pies do have meat in them. It was originally a very expensive way of preserving meat. My dad still makes his own, and he uses both minced beef and suet (along with a ton of spices, fruit, candied peel, and brandy).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


Crumpet season: when it's reasonable to buy packs of crumpets. This has started, and I would tend to date it to the beginning of October.

Whyyyyy would crumpets be a seasonal food? Crumpets are awesome 365 days a year, no?
posted by Secret Sparrow at 1:40 PM on October 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


I am happy to see this post. That is all.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:16 PM on October 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


I have bought a pumpkin to carve-- the first of many, I hope. And I'm doing my usual thing of saving up all the spent wooden matches for a tiny ashtray bonfire.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:51 PM on October 13, 2019


The retail year is divided into four seasons: pre-Christmas, pre-Easter, Barbecue, and pre-Halloween.

I always thought Back to School was the third season.
posted by SisterHavana at 3:30 PM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


Here in Sweden, the commercial holiday-season year seems to have two poles: Jul (Christmas) and Påsk (Easter). For each of which, a local softdrink (must) comes out in a seasonal packaging, as Julmust or Påskmust. The formulae of both are widely believed, if not confirmed, to be identical. Another pole would be Midsommar, though that has less commercial commemoration.

The Swedish calendar manifests itself in baked goods being customarily associated with dates of the year, such as the semla bun being customarily associated with Shrove Tuesday. In fact, the Swedish manifestation of Capitalism-gone-mad, equivalent to scandalously premature Halloween/Christmas tie-ins in shops, may be a supermarket selling semlor in September, labelled as “Septemla”.
posted by acb at 4:03 PM on October 13, 2019 [7 favorites]



Note from a US reader: the Tide Of Christmas breached the Thanksgiving barricade long ago and we're starting to see precisely this.

In support: I was at Costco today and noticed they're already selling the "Brewers Advent Calendar" in their Boozitorium Annex. 24 different cans of German beer--some of which I can't find anywhere else in Minnesota--for $60. I say Xmas can come as early as it wants if it brings beer.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 5:58 PM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Mrs Inflatablekiwi put our seven year old in a “dashing through the snow” Christmas t-shirt this weekend. The (Santa) call is coming from inside the house!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:32 PM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


acb, I was in the US for a month and got back on Saturday. Today I went to the store in my Stockholm burb and saw it was selling those Lucia buns (lussie katter?), saffron buns popular on St. Lucia’s day, December 13. I was outraged because 1.Too early and 2.No raisins. I wonder if they even use real saffron ... Signed, cranky expat who wants raisins.

You are right about the must. Same beverage, different label. That’s the only difference.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:58 PM on October 13, 2019


There were stacks of Quality Street tubs in Aldi last week, and I saw the mince pies at Marks and Sparks right around the beginning of the month. It feels a bit too early, but that won't stop me from eating all of the above.
posted by vickyverky at 12:57 AM on October 14, 2019


If you think Christmas stuff in Supermarkets is early, then my Sainsbury's has hot cross buns...
posted by Wordshore at 3:50 AM on October 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


If you think Christmas stuff in Supermarkets is early, then my Sainsbury's has hot cross buns...

Did they ever not? My local still has them, but that's because they're keeping them late, not getting them out early.
posted by Dysk at 3:51 AM on October 14, 2019


Did they ever not?

There were no hot cross buns through the long summer; I know as I'm addicted to them almost as much as mince pies and checked frequently. Now that barbeque season is over and that display has gone, my choice of breakfast breads has pleasingly reappeared. He says, working through the third one today.
posted by Wordshore at 4:38 AM on October 14, 2019


British grocery conglomerates are unstuck in time...

I've seen trailers for an upcoming film starring the woman out of Game of Thrones, presumably trying to outrun typecasting as a genocidal plutocrat, which features a shop in London that sells Christmas stuff all year round. The shop exists (or existed, it may have closed) near London Bridge - so we do have this weird thing about letting Christmas out of its temporal cage. Perhaps it's the great British quest to find excuses to be drunk literally all the time (see also the Edinburgh fringe). The film itself seems to be Paul Feig channelling Richard Curtis, which to me is a bit like crossbreeding anthrax with ebola, but I suppose it will appeal to someone.
posted by Grangousier at 5:33 AM on October 15, 2019


The Swedish calendar manifests itself in baked goods being customarily associated with dates of the year, such as the semla bun being customarily associated with Shrove Tuesday.

Semla is that name of a dessert in the manga One Piece and up until I read this comment I didn't know it was a real thing.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:37 PM on October 15, 2019


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