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Christmas Food

On Christmas Day we EAT. One Christmas Day years ago we had been photographing customs in Yorkshire and needed something to eat. A desperate tour of all six utterly deserted wool towns eventually brought us to an Indian restaurant in Leeds who provided us with excellent curry - and then went back to their own vast family meal of turkey and plumb pudding!

A word about Stargazy Pie. This is not exactly a Christmas dish though it has connections. It is traditionally eaten on Tom Bawcocks Eve (23 December) in Mousehole, Cornwall. The legend is that one year back in the 16th century the weather was so bad that the fishermen had not been able to go to sea. The village depended on fish to live and was facing starvation so Tom Bawcock decided to brave the storm. He managed to catch enough fish, mainly pilchards, to make a great pie for Christmas and, to prove the pie was really full of fish, had their heads sticking through the pastry, gazing at the stars. Be that as it may, Stargazy Pie has become a ‘traditional’ Cornish dish and therefore susceptible to the ‘folk process’ – reportedly leading to not-very-peasant ingredients such as crayfish, lobster and a drizzle of white wine sauce.