With my parents on the train homeward and the dishwasher laboring, I’ve a brief opportunity to review the day’s events. And I can happily say that Christmas Day was gloriously uneventful. The roast duck was everything it should be- moist and flavorful on the inside, with crispy skin without. The braised cabbage was about the tastiest I’ve ever had, and all of this preceded by my favorite starter, potted shrimps. Mind you, these might have been improved with brown shrimps from Morecombe Bay, but what we had was pretty damn fine, to quote a transplanted Yorkshireman- he knows who he is. All of this was served upon a George III period mahogany dining table, of course I had to work that in, with the iridescent timber of the table articulating perfectly with the silver cutlery and china service.
Frankly, getting out the serving pieces that hadn’t seen the light of day for a year, the Irish linen likewise hidden away, and employing them to add to the enjoyment of our yuletide feast was about as much fun as I’ve had in a long while. What happens, and maybe this is a side benefit of getting older, was that I could muse on the other times these items have been used, earlier Christmases, fabulous dinner parties that were events in themselves, and, as my silver and Irish linen are heirlooms, the enjoyment my grandparents and their friends got out of them. This may be overstating things, but I don’t think so, that objects, precious though inanimate, do become iconic in the possession of those who can feel their iconic properties.
And, of course, my own use adds to their spiritual energy. That’s by way of saying the more beloved objects are used, the more they are enjoyed. With all that, one of my wishes this holiday season is that next year sees the silver out of its canteen with much, much greater frequency, and the dining table functions not just as an adjunct of the dining room, but becomes as it should be the center of all-occasion conviviality.