So, as is wont to happen at this time of the year, a lot has taken place in a very short amount of time. The world didn't end, work did, and 40 short* hours after H1's phone rang to let us know there was a car waiting outside our building, we arrived on the doorstep of my in-laws' place in the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand, ready to rest and recuperate and swim and socialise and generally just enjoy everything. But not before we ate.
I'm not going to bore anyone with tales of airplane food and describe the misery that is an airport food court. We all know how that feels. Suffice to say that by the time we made it home, we were hungry. Thankfully, a flight that takes you over the international date line not only thoroughly confuses you as to what day it actually is and when you should blog, but brings you one day closer to Christmas, which is obviously about much more than eating - but has enough food to make any starved traveller more than happy**.
Christmas dinner, by which I mean a late lunch*** is a pretty relaxed**** affair in New Zealand, at least as far as I can tell by my experience. The heat of summer, combined with New Zealand's unique time zone, which makes an hour last at least twice as long as it does in the northern hemisphere, makes for long, lazy days that lend themselves to salads and barbecues much more than they do heavy roasts and puddings.
That is not to say that Christmas dinner is a light meal. Nothing's a light meal if you eat so much of it you can barely move, except possibly to gently lift another meringue (they're mostly air - no guilt there). Growing up, my family always did the 'traditional' meal with a slight Kiwi spin - roast ham and lamb and vegetables, followed by a selection of leaden dried fruit based desserts***** - which was actually lovely, and pleased my English grandfather no end. Now that I no longer have an English grandfather to please, they've gone full Kiwi - as my in-laws do. And I love it. There's nothing better than returning home, to this green and pleasant land full of delicious barbecues, tasty salads, fresh fruit, sweet pavlovas, and good wine.
Cheers. Merry Christmas to you all!
*Lies. They were loooong hours.
**Should probably point out that we did actually get fed before Christmas day. Otherwise this would be a whole other story.
***On no other day do I refer to lunch as dinner, but to me that's how it should be on Christmas.
****Says the woman who didn't cook anything...others may have different adjectives.
*****Christmas cake. Christmas pudding. Mince pies. You get the picture.