How Passing a Panettone for a Parcel Became One of My Christmas Traditions | Christmas food and drink

a An ordinary Christmas is expected, and thanks to this, the ritual police are now on patrol. I do not complain; I include myself among their number. Loading the freezer with sausage rolls for the party I’m planning to throw on Boxing Day, I enjoy the comforting embrace of order and repetition, the feeling that all is temporarily right with the world. Very few right now give me greater pleasure than the sound of my young niece talking to me through her idea of ​​a proper birthday. “We have beef, not turkey,” she says in a squeaky voice Barchester Towers (I play Mrs. Brodie, supplicant to the stern archdeacon with tenderness.)

It’s strange to think how little and how much Christmas has changed in my life. In 2022, I struggle to explain to the little ones that when we were children, my brother and I used to be given edible smoking sets by our grandmother: chocolate pipes, cigars and cigarettes attractively arranged on a molded plastic tray. The expressions on their faces insist that I am crazy. However, there certainly won’t be a Christmas at the end of it that someone who looks down on Quality Street doesn’t let a strawberry; A Brexit deal does not exist that will fix this very excess. Some rituals, admittedly, take a while to get established. But then, they cling like ivy. In the 1980s my family started going out to an Indian restaurant on Christmas Eve, with the result that the day is now unthinkable without poppadoms. Suggested fish and chips, and there would be blood, not tomato ketchup.

All of this brings me to the question of — damn — panettone. This sweet Italian bread, shaped like an A Domo And peppered with candied russets, it’s been haunting us for years now, at first an exotic luxury, and finally became popular up there with poinsettias and the dreaded Christmas cereal. But the drawback as its latest several variants – ‘fine champagne’, ‘black forest’, ‘tiramisu style’ – is undoubtedly the presence of Waitrose’s £5.50 panettone that really confuses me. Isn’t the point of the panettone that it comes in a fancy box? How on earth are we supposed to notice what has become one of our major Christmas rituals if we all start making our own?

goes like this. Someone, somewhere, is buying a panettone. I know. It is difficult to imagine this mysterious figure, the originator; Like a person starting a chain letter, they seem distant, perhaps a little sinister. But they are there nonetheless, handing their money over for a giant cloud of Italian nothingness. Cut off after a few days (although given the dates of use of the panettone, we could be talking about after several weeks or months). Imagine this same man or woman arriving home, merrily swinging a ribbon on a finger. Ding dong! The bell rings, the door opens, and cries of joy begin.

The signals, of course, are absolutely effortless. Nobody will break ranks. Everyone takes part in the pantomime. Generosity galore here. And here, too, is the evolution: the soul of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dante, and Boccaccio, in proper baked form. Then, everyone starts eating wine and chips, the panettone already quickly sent to an under-stairs cupboard.

and so it begins. The reel moves forward again, to the moment when the banneton is retrieved by its recipient, who now urgently needs a gift to take elsewhere. Thus, the (allegedly) noble Italian cake whose roots can be traced back to the Roman Empire embarks on its long circumnavigation around any British town it happens to be in, a sort of Christmas that goes by the parcel. continually, a journey which, though it may last as long as Marco Polo’s travels, always ends in the same way. Many moons thus, someone of some mysterious artifice will call a halt to the farce – Goodbye, weird bread! — and turn the thing into bread-and-butter pudding, or even toast.

yes. By tradition, this is very strange, and much less fun than going sailing or putting on a Christmas sweater. But it looks like it’s here to stay. A visit to my private cupboard under the stairs reveals that there are three panettones currently in residence. They wait silently, ambassadors of saffron and cartoon. It’s as if they know the moment will soon come for them.

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