Christmas means many things to many people (it even means nothing to others). Some love it, some loathe it but whether you use the yule log to bring cheer or to pummel the gaudy plastic santa in the neighbour’s front yard, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that Christmas has traditions attached.
Being a Christmas Cheer person myself I like to enjoy the good things about the season of festivity. Living away from the majority of my family makes Christmas particularly special because I get to fly home to spend a week with everyone I’ve missed over the past year. There are numerous traditions bundled into our Christmasses, but today I’m going to focus on one – my Dad’s Christmas Trifle.
Photograph by Ben Dearnley
The tradition of Dad’s Christmas Trifle is only a young one, but this year it’s different. For about the past five years, my Dad has procured the following ingredients:
- 14 Jam rollettes;
- 1 pack of strawberry/raspberry jelly;
- A splash of sweet sherry;
- 500ml vanilla custard;
- 250ml whipped thickened cream.
Usually these components are laid out to form a production line of sorts – the organs and appendages of a slightly more aesthetically pleasing Frankenstein’s Monster if you will. Only one bowl in the house is capable of containing the final creation, so it must be cleaned and prepared accordingly before the magic can really begin.
Once everything is ready, Dad masterfully crafts these individual ingredients with a surgical precision, with timing to ensure maximum freshness that I imagine the atomic clock would envy if it were capable of feeling human emotions.
Over the years there have been loving jokes made about Dad’s Christmas Trifle. As a man who takes pride in absolutely everything he does, my Dad likes to make sure that everything is in order before any job commences. If he’s given a recipe, it is followed to the letter; each step in order because why would anyone write a recipe that isn’t meant to be followed in step?
I am my father’s son in this respect; although we’re both becoming more flexible as we go.
Maybe it’s the searching spirit within me, looking for something more to the things in life. Maybe I’m just saying what everyone else already knows. My Dad is an incredibly caring person. While he’s usually quiet and rarely gives his opinion without being asked first, he is always supportive and his family is everything to him.
I’ve realised this year that Dad’s Christmas Trifle is more than just a dessert for the Christmas lunch. It is a gift made for us all, lovingly created with only the best ingredients he can gather because that’s what he wants to give us all. The very best things.
So what’s different about the tradition this year? Only one thing.
This year, I’m going to eat it.
On the first day of Christmas, the Season gave to me…
A trifle made for the Family