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End Of Term

It looks like Michaelmas term is wrapping up here in lovely Cambridge. I've been pretty busy this past week. Part of it is that I had a couple of friends over to visit, a colleague and his wife. They were in the process of moving, but something had gone wrong at their new place, and they couldn't move in until a week after schedule. Meanwhile, they had to be out of the temporary place where they were staying. Of course, you can't let friends be suddenly homeless in December (even if Cambridge isn't nearly as cold as Chicago), so I had them come and stay at my place, which turns out to be plenty big enough for three adults. I declare my first experiment in having houseguests in my Cambridge cottage a rousing success!

It was also mightily convenient, because Colleague and I are working on putting together a proposal to host a conference at Cambridge possibly next year, and we're at the stage where we have to brainstorm themes and go look at potential venues. It was nice to be able to plan these things out with someone who was in the next room rather than the next town over!

The Christmas Season is in full swing, as it apparently has been since early November (no Thanksgiving to slow people down!). The Christmas thing here seems to be mulled wine and mince pies, which have no meat in them. I've had at least three or four invitations to gatherings where this combination of food and drink is served. The next one is on Wednesday. There's also choirs singing carols everywhere you look, and big turkey dinners being advertised. I wouldn't have guessed that English people eat turkey at Christmas, but I guess you learn something new every day. Anyway, there's lots of music going on, so I am a happy Pony.

I also got to see a panto! I'd heard about them, and then it turned out that the graduate students of Corpus have a big Christmas turkey dinner and put on a panto, so I went. The turkey dinner wasn't really anything to write home about, at least not compared with the food that Corpus is capable of producing, but the panto was hilarious! It was a parody of Frozen, and I'm now really glad I watched that movie on the plane to SEM in Pittsburgh last month. My fellow . . . Fellows said that the graduate-student panto wasn't quite fully traditional, but it did include two performers getting dressed up in drag (including the Reverend who is the warden of the graduate campus), and everyone seemed to be having a fantastic time.

And then there was the Benefactors' Feast. I'll write more about that later. For now, all I'll say is that it was spectacle beyond spectacle. O.M.F.G.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC)
Mince pies! I've had two already this week. Yum. Hot with custard is best :-)

I'm laughing about the turkey - what did you think people ate?! Out of curiosity.

I only went to my first panto last year. My parents were not panto people. But my nephew's mum is a panto person! And yup, someone has to be in drag.

I'm very glad you seem content.
Dec. 14th, 2014 10:14 am (UTC)
Ooo, I haven't had any hot mince pies. Maybe I'll steal one from the College mince-pies-and-mulled-wine thing and take it home and stick it in the microwave to see what happens.

I honestly hadn't given all that much thought to what British people eat for Christmas dinner! It's just that turkey isn't at all a native bird, and I associate it so strongly with Thanksgiving that it just seems odd to me that everyone here wants it for Christmas. Particularly since all the Tales Of British Christmas that make it to the US (and which are, granted, at least a hundred years old) seem to involve goose. The other thing that strikes me as odd about the British Christmas Turkey Dinner is that no one I've met seems to like turkey, but they all go out of their way to eat it anyway.

Of course, if they all eat their turkey the way the graduate student campus had it prepared, as a giant turkey breast steak, then I can see why they don't like it. Turkey breast is a pretty dry meat, and no one is going to like plowing through a great big steak of it. You eat it in small bits, and you always go for the dark meat first.
Dec. 14th, 2014 10:22 am (UTC)
Only put it in the microwave for a few seconds. Even if it turns out you don't like it, your house will smell lovely :-)

And if you buy a jar of it you can also make mincemeat muffins or mincemeat loaf or mincemeat crumble cake. Yum!

It's true. I can't stand turkey. But it's the Official Dinner on Christmas Day. It's much nicer turned into curry on Stephen's (Boxing) Day.
Dec. 14th, 2014 10:27 am (UTC)
Maybe I'll do the mincemeat loaf next year. I'm totally good with the pies right now, I think. And I will absolutely remember not only to microwave them briefly, but I will also remember to take them out of their little foil cups first! (I had a little incident with the lovely plates I bought at a Red Cross shop. They had some gilding along the edge, and I'd completely forgotten that gilding can't go in a microwave. Which is why I now have more dishes with no gilding on them for microwaving leftovers.)

Turkey curry sounds pretty good. My favorite turkey leftover is turkey-and-cranberry-sauce sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving (a/k/a The Day Where You Get To Eat Pumpkin Pie For Breakfast).
Dec. 14th, 2014 12:19 pm (UTC)
What's in mincemeat anyway? I've been sort of afraid to ask.

I like turkey best in a sandwich. It doesn't reheat well at all.
Dec. 14th, 2014 12:31 pm (UTC)
The filling in mince pies appears to consist of raisins and similar dried fruit, lots of aromatic spices probably related to cinnamon and cloves, and . . . goo. It's a little hard to describe, in the way that the gel under the pecans in a pecan pie is hard to describe. It seems to be pretty much spicy dried fruit pie filling. The people at Reel Club explained that mince pies used to have meat in them, but then at some point, people realized that everyone kind of preferred just the fruit and the spice and the goo, and they started leaving out the meat, so now mince pies are vegetarian. Who knew?

Turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce are the bomb!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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