However when invited for Christmas Day Lunch in a family home you may well start with polenta. It’s not popular here mainly because many people don’t realise that it’s “the vehicle for its passengers”. In Italy, usually the father is in the kitchen preparing it. He would pour cornmeal very slowly into boiling water stirring continuously with a wooden tool called a tarello until it is smooth and golden. At this point it is poured onto a large wooden board called a spianatora. A rich tomato sauce full of small pieces of sausage is spread over it and finally it is covered with grated cheese.
Placed on the table everyone dives in with their forks starting on the edge and working into the middle.
Peter’s daughter-in-law, Louise, told me that years ago in the poorest families just one sausage would be in the middle of the dish and it would be a game to see who reached it first and gained the prize! The main course is often roast meat and vegetables. Fruit and nuts are next and finally ice cream, panettone and cakes.
I wonder if you have planned your Christmas Day lunch. My advice would be to prepare as much as possible in advance in order to lessen the stress. I find a glass of wine also helps! We hope to be with Peter’s daughter and family on the 25th and with my son and family on Boxing Day. Usually the latter have goose on Christmas Day but yesterday my daughter-in-law told me that they are having it on Boxing Day this year as they know how much I enjoy it. How thoughtful of them, I’m looking forward to it already!
If you’ll be on your own please remember what I always say, Spoil yourself, eat and drink your favourite things and do just what makes you feel special (because you are!) Make some good plans for the New Year just around the corner.