Christmas Lunch, that time of the year where huge families come together in mutual joy or loathing and eat, what is to be honest about it, a slightly larger version of a Sunday Lunch.

Christmas Lunch also causes anyone who is not part of a huge family that comes together for the day(s) to wander around the food aisles the day before looking for something vaguely “not sad and pathetic” to eat.

Obviously, anyone half sensible can knock up Christmas lunch for one – it’s just a case of buying fewer sprouts, potatoes, etc.

What about the turkey?

A bird that causes even the largest of families to exclaim “not more turkey” on Boxing Day is a week or more of turkey for a single person.

Christmas Lunch for One is incompatible with turkey.

It is actually surprising that in the modern era of supermarkets and semi-prepared meals, that not one that I checked is selling a box containing “Christmas Lunch for One”. As supermarkets have long realised that most single people prefer to buy meals for two, then split them – as it looks a little less sad in the shopping basket (we don’t even get to use the trolleys!) – I am even more surprised that there isn’t a “Christmas Lunch for Two” option.

I can buy a chicken breast on its own, and the same for chicken thigh or wings – but not turkey. Only turkey slices for sandwiches, and that is just pathetic on Christmas Day!

As it happens, I am not a huge fan of large Sunday lunches, but there is tradition, and there is something curiously participatory about eating the same sort of meal that 90% of the population is eating, even if you are sitting at the table alone.

So here is a message for food vendors – try to find a way of selling turkey in two-person portions next year, or failing that, someone breeds a pocket-sized turkey please!

For this year, in the absence of single-person turkeys, I am having a much more manageable Partridge instead. But no pears.

Incidentally, as noted in this week’s Spectator magazine, the origin of a Partridge in a Pear tree might have an interesting history to it.

The theory is that it derives from the introduction, in the 17th century, of the French partridge, which has gradually crushed our native grey. The French is “une perdrix”. So the original words offered a choice of “a partridge or oon pear-dree”.

I now have a strong suspicion that my Christmas Lunch this year will be French.


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  1. Paul M says:

    Duck is good for one. A bit smaller than a chicken, very tasty and a bit “special” and the leftovers can be used for all sorts of food. You can also get whatever veg you need for it loose so you’re not getting too much of that either.

    (I refuse to subscribe to your idea of ready meals for one for Christmas :p)

  2. Lisa Hirsch says:

    In the US, it’s easy to find turkey parts, which are available year round: breast, half-breast, drumstick, whole leg, thigh, wing. Your partridge sounds suitably festive!

  3. Alex Foster says:

    Can you really not find turkey parts? We’ve had turkey crown in previous years, and you can usually get turkey breast steaks.

  4. Andrea says:

    I usually cheat a bit and get some roast chicken. It’s all poultry, right?

  5. Anna says:

    I was going to go for the turkey breasts too but they’ve mysteriously disappeared from their usual place near the chicken and rows of whole turkeys have taken their place. It must have been sometime last week by my calculations. It’s not about the meat anyway, it’s about the trimmings, I made a great big pot of stuffing today and had some for dinner too. This has reminded me of this line from one of Will Self’s books:

    “Being queer and self-sufficient is the best present at this season”

  6. California traveler says:

    Oh, my family is too far to travel, but I HAVE to have traditional Christmas dinner. This year I made turkey (a 24 pound one!), stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, sweet potato casserole, fruit salad, yeast rolls, and chocolate pecan pie. I love it so much I can handle leftovers for a few days, and now the trimmings are just about gone. I love turkey sandwiches, and I also flavor and re-cook it for Mexican dishes. You can do a lot with turkey.

    Incidentally, they DO breed much smaller turkeys. They are just not really available commercially. I have a small farm, and I’m much more likely to eat chicken or duck, but I also have goose, and an hoping to trade some goslings for turkey poults this year so I can have my own turkey too. It’s very good for you. 🙂

  7. Penny says:

    As part of a small family that doesn’t like family dinner parties at all, I usually have to find ways to prepare my own Festive Lunches. This year’s solution was chicken stuffed with chestnuts and plums which I separated in portions, I had one of them as my Christmas dinner (because I had previously lunch with one of my family members) and I put the others in the fridge freezer for future lunches.

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