I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
The British tradition of “Boxing Day” may be difficult to understand for those who did not grow up with the classic December 26th celebration (read more here) But regardless of following the finer nuances of history, Boxing Day eats remain some of my favorite “comfort food” indulgences of the calendar.
Typically, the meal is built around leftovers from the big feast on Christmas Day. This presents a challenge if, like us, your family tradition for December 25 is all about brunch. Rebekah and I gave up the traditional “Christmas Dinner” around 1985, when we realized that enjoying the gifts and playing with the children all day was preferable to six hours in the kitchen!
Not to be thwarted in my Boxing Day ambitions, however, I prepare our turkey and a ham ahead of time. So the cold meat in the fridge can masquerade as “leftovers” when the time comes.
Once the cold cuts are available, it’s all about accessorizing. I prepare baked potatoes, fresh vegetables, turkey dressing, homemade bread, salad, and as many British pickles as I can find. It’s that magical balance of hot food (potatoes and veggies) and cold meats. So good!
Dessert, then, must involve some combination of Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, mince pie, and hot custard.
And – if you are taking notes – don’t forget to get a box of “crackers” (also known as poppers). It is very important to pull these while still around the table, to immediately put on the flimsy paper hats, to share the corny jokes that come with the toys, and to explain to everyone exactly how cheesy and useless the “surprise gift” inside is (if you can find it after it has flown across the room).
Boxing Day meals involve the sharing of stories, the telling of lame jokes, talking about our Christmas gifts, and – at least if you are at my table – sharing a word or an idea that you want to live into during the coming year. At Maul Hall we heard about “expectation” and “light” and “joy.”
Here are a few photographs for you foodies out there.
Today it is December 27. Take some time over the coming week to think of an idea you want to guide you, your thinking and your living, during 2023.
In love, and because love will help us to find a way – DEREK