A BIG Family Christmas

With a family as big as mine, Christmas remains a far cry away from a quiet little retreat in the country. And on the years when we don’t all manage to fly our carbon fueled feet half way around the globe to meet up, it all feels a bit too quiet.  For one thing, when there are twenty-one family members- including three teenage boys (plus another six men who eat as if they still were), there’s a impressive amount of time, planning and stamina that goes into feeding them throughout the week of Christmas. With several birthdays to celebrate, big family Christmas’s always resemble my first week at University, complete with freshers flu at the end.

I grumbled in a recent posting that the obligation of Christmas present buying was tedium incarnate and whilst this Christmas proved no different to any other, bigger appetites meant there was an increased focus on the need for food. And lots of it. Don and I usually make decisions about what to eat when we’re hungry but here- it was no use deciding what to eat for lunch at lunchtime, menus for mealtimes were devised over lengthy group emails back in October and duties were divided up around the family.  And yet, for some reason, by some stroke of serious luck I managed to slip through the sieve, so to speak, and got off rather lightly. Although there was something rather unnerving about how much I enjoyed not being the one wiping away sweat beads dashing  between stove and dining room table. The price for such a luxury as actually having a holiday when on holiday was to make pavlovas for dessert one night.  Easy.  Or so one would assume.

If I’m ever asked to make a pavlova in somebody else’s kitchen again there will be a few pointers that will need clarifying before I agree to it:

1/  Will there be a bowl big enough to whisk eight egg whites in?

2/ Will there be a baking tin big enough to cook my pavlova on?

3/ Will there be an electric whisk?

To say that I got an arm workout that day would be grossly underselling my efforts. My appreciation for electric kitchen tools has never been more defined- and neither have my biceps for that matter.

Happy New Year!

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3 Responses to “A BIG Family Christmas”


  1. 1 LB January 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Happy New Year to you, too (and a belated merry Christmas). I expect the (literally) hand made pavlova was delicious – I hope it was worth all the extra energy. I’m kind of suffering from a similar injury to my wrist – from trying to grind the last peppercorns in a plastic grinder – so I can sympathize…

  2. 2 Sally Aitken-Davies January 4, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Happy New Year! Pavlova is my favourite pudding I will provide you with the electric whisk anytime you wish to visit my kitchen.

  3. 3 Bill Helm January 5, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I also found mixing the egg whites by hand exhausting and attach the photo to prove it!


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