MY SAY: Have a merry Christmas, brussel sprouts and all
I HAVE spent most of my many Christmases in Australia in the summer.
I have spent just a handful of Christmases in the UK in the cold.
I love the cold ones best.
The cold ones are wonderful, exciting, memorable: all the twinkling lights, the late afternoon darkness, the sometimes-snow, the turkeys and geese hanging in butcher shops, the Yuletide logs, the rugging up to do your Christmas shopping, the games of charade by the fire.
Christmas in the middle of summer just does not seem right to me, even though I am a true blue Aussie.
However, there is one thing to be forever grateful for about spending Christmas Day in the Australian heat - we don't have to eat brussel sprouts.
Everyone in England is required by law to eat brussel sprouts for their Christmas lunch.
Well, not quite by law, more a social expectation.
Along with a turkey the size of a dinosaur, a Mt Everest of roast spuds and a lake of rich gravy, brussel sprouts are mandatory on the big day.
Now, I don't mind a brussel sprout, but I know I am in the minority.
If you cook them, as I do, with bacon and butter and garlic, a brussel sprout becomes almost sexy. (Not really, but go with it for the sake of Christmas.)
I have immensely enjoyed watching all the food shows coming out of the UK these past few weeks: Nigella's Christmas Kitchen, Mary Berry's Absolute Christmas Favourites, even Heston Blumenthal's Christmas farce, with him making a Christmas pudding the size of a house (not kidding, did you see it?)
But I am rather exhausted by all that heavy food, all the rich and complex cooking English celebrity chefs are obliged to show us.
Gordon Ramsay invited David Hasselhoff into his kitchen on Christmas Day to stuff tarragon butter under a turkey's skin (why Hasselhoff was never explained) and then he roasted parsnips in honey (even a parsnip can be sexed up) and then invited more celebrities I had never heard of but were obviously big-time in the UK, into his kitchen to make pecan stuffing and Christmas pudding.
I gained weight during that program alone.
Then there was Mary Berry with her poor arthritic hands chopping leeks to make a silky sumptuous fish pie loaded with cream and topped with buttery croutons.
So even though I do love a cold Christmas and hope to have one in Switzerland one day (night markets, oh yes) or maybe Italy (panettone and Barolo, yes please) or perhaps Lapland (may spot a reindeer), I will content myself with yet another Aussie Christmas sitting outside in the heat in my swimsuit peeling a prawn.
While we are downing our chilled oysters on Christmas Day, will we give thought to Nigella scoffing goose fat roast potatoes?
While we contemplate a runny pavlova on Christmas afternoon, will we even think about Jamie Oliver's custard and brandy butter?
While we sit in the pool slurping a mango, will we concern ourselves about a brussel sprout?
I think not.
There, I have just convinced myself that a Christmas in the heat is better than one in the cold.