IT JUST OCCURRED TO ME...
ACHRISTMASADDICTION THAT MUST BE HAMPERED
My name is Oliver Pritchett and I want to tell this support group about my addiction to Christmas food mail order brochures. Sometimes I get through as many as four in a day. At first I thought I could control my habit, just picking up the odd leaflet in Marks & Spencer, but then I found I was getting onto stronger stuff: full colour pictures of glistening clove-studded hams and great Stilton cheeses, preening game pies, sides of smoked salmon and even three-bird roasts.
This brochure stuff is too readily available these days; a new temptation comes through the letterbox almost every day. I’m frightened I might soon go for the ultimate buzz and I might start experimenting with selections of hampers.
I never order anything. The true pleasure is in the succulent prose evoking a fantasy of gracious country living. You’ll notice the pickles are always named after women, so you have, say, a jar of Arabella’s date and persimmon chutney or Brenda’s pickled walnuts to go with that giant Wiltshire ham which you will still be eating in mid-March. All cakes are baked in farmhouses and all the animals which provide the meat are blissfully happy — or they were up to a certain moment. I bet even those mini-sausage rolls were contented. They tell you the exact loch every salmon comes from and (practically) give the postcode of every single Gloucester Old Spot pig.
Of all the fantasies these brochures offer the best is “the pantry” – that bit of paradise which always holds a leftover home-made steak and kidney pie. Who has a pantry these days? All I have is a store cupboard and, when I open it, a packet of basmati rice falls on my head. Now I’ve got that off my chest I need a group hug.