Life

"Enough with the gimmicks: can we just leave Christmas food the f**k alone?"

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Sarah Lakos
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On the news that a Branston mince pie has entered the Christmas fare fray, one writer wants you to leave her cheap, liqueur-filled bon bons alone.  

I’ve had enough.

It was the news of cheesy, savoury mince tarts that broke this festive camel’s back. That, and having to endure gin-flavoured everything in the ‘Christmas Feast’ aisle of the supermarket.

Let’s make one thing clear: I’ve already started writing my Christmas cards, I’m off to a festive market this weekend. I bloody love holly and will likely nick some from my neighbour’s front yard to craft a wreath for my front door while listening to George Michael. 

I love this time of year in a very real and admittedly commercial way. I’ve bought my Christmas Day napkins for Christ’s sake. 

But I wish brands would stop f**king with the perfection and bliss of traditional mince tarts. While we’re at it, gold leaf cheddar can sod off too. 

Has 2018’s chronic personalisation given us a fear of ‘settling’ with a bog-standard issue mince pie? When did it become passé to serve traditional and simple Christmas fare at Christmas? Where did it all go wrong?

Yes historic pedants, I hear your cries. The original mince pies did in fact contain real meat mince: typically mutton or beef. But that was 1591, and for the most of the twentieth century, the recipe has firmly listed raisins, currents, brandy and mixed peel. So even that traditional recipe evolved (happily, because eew).

It’s not just the mince pie, either. My desk mate and Stylist associate editor, Anna Fielding, received a lovely Irish cheddar last Christmas. So far, so good. Until she realised it was lemon and gin-flavoured. Safe to say that cheese’s wax remains firmly sealed. 

What have we done to you, you beautiful creature? 

Another colleague has expressed genuine, foggy-eyed concern for the future of her beloved pigs in blankets: “They’re not going to mess with those, are they?” 

I don’t know, Kate, I just don’t know. 

The only festive food tampering I can genuinely abide by are the overdue alternatives for vegetarian and vegans (and those with allergies and intolerances). There’s only so much nut roast and squash one person can enjoy over the Christmas period.

Meanwhile, all I want for Christmas, is a good-old fashioned, heavy on the shortcrust, sugary mince pie. No gin essence, no Earl Grey pastry, un-bedecked with lemon crumble. And please, no alternative fruit fillings.

While I write, an email from a PR heralding the arrival of a Mince Pie Martini arrives. I give up. 

Images: Instagram, Getty

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Sarah Lakos

Sarah Lakos is Stylist’s social media manager. She doesn’t write often for the website, so please enjoy this fleeting occurrence.

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