31 December 2022

Introduction from Delia Smith's Christmas (Delia Smith)

If there's one person in the world who probably needs this book more than anyone else, it's me.  For years my own Christmas preparations have been, to say the least, fragmented and fraught: recipes here, notes there, and fading memories of what I might have done last year if only I could be sure!  What I needed, it seemed to me, was a sort of personal Christmas organiser, something I could reach for in October and keep by me as a guide all the way through to the point where the last of the Christmas leftovers have been dealt with.

Then I began to think: if that's what I need, how many other people might need the same?  It would be nice of course to be able to say at this point that the contents of this book can zip you through all that Christmas catering without a worry or a care.  Unfortunately that is not the case, because unless you are superhuman, believe me, there will still be some hectic days ahead of you.  But what I have set out to do here is to be a sort of friend in the background, providing practical information, offering new and different recipes (as well as the more traditional ones), and if not entirely removing the pressure of Christmas cooking then going some way to ensuring its success.

Christmas has its critics and, if we were honest, I'm sure each one of us has, at some time, wished we could quietly quit the planet and come back when it was over.  On the other hand, at what other time of the year can we turn our minds to the sheer joy of feasting?  The sharing of fine food and wines with family and friends is a deeply ingrained human (as well as religious) activity, without which our lives would surely be diminished.

As a veteran of many a Christmas campaign, my final message to you is not to worry.  You will be pressured, you will get grumpy, but it will all be worth it.  Just set your mind on that glorious moment on Christmas Day when the last of the washing-up has been done.  By then you will probably have enough food in the house to last for several days, so fill your glass, put your feet up and forget all about it for another year!

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