How to annoy a food lover at Christmas

 Roast turkey

Food lovers are a fussy group. They eschew the ordinary in favor of the exotic, and their refined palates are difficult to please. At least that seems to be the opinion of William Sitwell, who writes in The Telegraph about how to annoy a food lover at Christmas.

Sitwell notes that one way to offend a gourmand is to boil Brussels sprouts. “Sprouts are the lovely, sweet, child-like cousins of cabbage. They are pretty little things and need to be treated with care and respect. They should not be boiled to death like some invading missionary,” he says. Sitwell elaborates on other ways to annoy, like having Christmas dinner early, or serving turkey for Christmas lunch.

These tongue-in-cheek descriptions paint food lovers as effete snobs who despair at changing their meal schedule to accommodate friends and relatives. I would hope that no guest would disdain a friend’s wine selection or be annoyed that they served turkey. However, it’s possible I cringed while reading this because a few points hit too close to home (sprouts really should never be boiled and yeah, the turkey is overcooked).

One item I could not disagree with more, however: the thought that a food lover wouldn’t want to receive a cookbook for Christmas. Says Sitwell: “We are a discerning bunch, we have made informed decisions about which of the 643 million cookbooks that were published in the last eight weeks we want. And that means that, sorry, we don’t want the 700 recipes Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson gifts the world in his Nordic Cookbook.” Maybe I wouldn’t seek out that particular tome, but if someone gave it to me, it would be welcome on my bookshelf. What about you?

William Sitwell is the editor of Waitrose Kitchen for which every issue ever published is indexed on EYB. 

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  • BethNH  on  December 20, 2015

    I think I disagreed with every single point he made and would not want this pompous ass at my house for a holiday. I'm more than happy to receive a cookbook, a bag of special spice, and eat whatever you serve me at whatever time you deem appropriate.

  • lkgrover  on  December 20, 2015

    This guy sounds like an absolute jerk and a horrible guest. What happened to graciously accepting people's hospitality?

    My family does Christmas (and birthday) lists, so I always choose specific books and other kitchen tools. (That way I don't receive something I already own.)

    My family and friends know that I will always accept any obscure spice (or other food product), because I can find a use for anything. (I receive a lot of things this way — friends buy things for one recipe, and then don't know what to do with the remaining product.)

  • bellaCat  on  December 22, 2015

    The phrase 'tongue in cheek' clearly passed earlier posters by.

  • DelaDebbie  on  December 25, 2015

    I'm happy to say that my mom is serving turkey today, at 2pm, and I'm going to love every bite of it. I'm also going to get cookbooks as gifts, because that's what 3/4 of my Amazon wish list is composed of. I'm happy to receive cookbooks any time, whether they're new, old, obscure, etc. I never tire of reading them.

    Merry Christmas to everyone!

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