I'm crazy about Christmas. For the Christmas from the movies, from Nursery school, from the storybooks, parties, and daydreams of my childhood. For the Christmas of present-day Bandra and the charming Christian villages of Girgaon.
It is a lovely festival indeed, made lovelier by its cool air and ambiance, its lights and parties, its tropical and fake Christmas trees with their fake snow, stars, bells, stockings, and presents. Smiling children, baby Jesus cribs and midnight mass. Silent Night playing in shops, bling-clad Churchgoers, the promise of the new year, roast chicken.
And the idea of roast turkey.
Thought for food: the idea of roast turkey - wonderful. Roast turkey - chewy, dry and not very flavoursome, redeemed, somewhat, by the gravy that accompanies it and the memories it evokes.
Now, since most roast meat sauces have gluten in them, I shall be nibbling on bits of turkey, mashed potatoes, a healthy serving of self-pity and a dollop of good cheer.
If, however, the turkey were a duck, wouldn't that be a whole new x-mas story, and bird...
My friend Padmini rings me to ask if I eat roast duck. You bet I do, but does it have gluten? No, you goose, it doesn't.
She has ordered some from O Pedro, the charming Goa-inspired restaurant at Bandra Kurla Complex.
I shall eat like there's no tomorrow. No duck tomorrow. There isn't. Tomorrow heralds some pompous weight-reducing diet.
It is still today and I have sidestepped the two delicious salads to eat more meat. In fact, the only vegetable that has passed my lips apart from the happy potato, is the carrot that accidentally fell into the Yorkshire pudding.
A guest behind me asks: Do you know why Yorkshire pudding is called a pudding when it's not actually a pudding?'
I remember pudding. It's a gluten-free Christmas plum cake that the dynamic Dr. Aarushi from Vile Parle has kindly delivered to my doorstep, whose passion it is to make gluten-free fare, who has stubbornly dodged the Internet, so hard does she groan under the weight of her orders. (Oh but she's so worth hunting down. Her g-free bread is divine).
The piping-hot plum pudding melts its vanilla ice cream. And joyful Christmas the cockles of our hearts.