Adventures & Insights

One man's adventures in the physical and intellectual worlds…

On The First Day Of Christmas

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.

Summer Berry 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;
  • Strawberries;
  • Blueberries;
  • Plums;
  • 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

16 responses to “On The First Day Of Christmas

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  3. DNatica December 17, 2011 at 11:55 am

    That looks delicious! Feel free to send some over to Indiana. We have some odd holiday meal traditions, too. My stepmom likes to make enchiladas for Christmas dinner.

  4. Blisstrack December 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

    That looks absolutely delicious! 🙂 I want a bit!! Merry Christmas for you! I’m glad you’re writting 🙂

  5. thoughtsappear December 15, 2011 at 12:38 am

    That looks so good. What are jam rollettes? I don’t think we have those here. They look like vanilla swiss rolls.

  6. Renee Schuls-Jacobson December 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Ha ha ha! Which ingredient puts you off? Or are you too full from dinner? It sounds great!

    • Christian Emmett December 14, 2011 at 9:04 am

      It was primarily the blueberries and strawberries, but recently I’ve tried strawberries again and have wondered how I ever disliked them! So this year I’m going to have a helping of trifle and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be delicious.

  7. skippingstones December 14, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Nice to see you again! Why haven’t you eaten it before?

    • Christian Emmett December 14, 2011 at 8:55 am

      Thanks Skipping 🙂

      I’ve never eaten it before because I’ve harboured an aversion to berries and some other fruits for many many years and I’m not even sure why. So this year I’m going to have some; it’s long past time.

      • skippingstones December 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm

        I’m actually not much of a fruit person myself, so I understand completely. And I am totally with you on the blueberries, but strawberries are yummy! But even those I can only eat maybe 4. I do love apples, can tolerate half a banana at one sitting, and love grapes…and…that’s about it. My sister thinks I’m nuts. But you’re either a fruit person or your not. I hope you like it – let us know how good it was!

        • Christian Emmett December 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm

          I’ll be sure to let everyone know how the trifle-experience goes. 🙂

          Bananas were (and still are) my favourite fruit of the lot. They were always sweet enough that I thought they were candy and I’m sure my parents loved that! I eat all the basics – apples, oranges, bananas, mandarins, etc but for some reason I avoided eating berries for a long time. Well, time’s up I say! 😉

  8. educlaytion December 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Let me know if you ever need a food taster.

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