Mary Berry

The Twelve Dames of Christmas, part one.

Merry (more or less the start of) Christmas everyone!

I am doing a thing this year called the Twelve Dames of Christmas which is, as you have probably guessed, a play on the Twelve Days of Christmas – albeit one that doesn’t quite work as a pun because you phrase the sentence very slightly differently when you substitute Days with Dames. There is an infinitesimally small, but noticeable, pause between ‘Dames’ and ‘of’ that ruins it for me. Anyway, we’re sticking with it now as I couldn’t think of anything better to do.

I started my own Christmas count down weeks ago. In fact, though this post will be published on the 7th of December, I am writing this on the 19th of November. I put the tree up two days ago. It was a Wednesday. There wasn’t much on tv. It has to go up sometime, yeah?

Seventeen days ago (for you) and tomorrow (for me) we had/are having friends round for tea. I cooked/am cooking a Christmas-ish dinner. Which is to say I will be doing a roast chicken (not turkey, I’m not made of money) and roast potatoes etc. There will be a cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries (if the supermarket deliver them; we won’t see the substituted items list until tomorrow morning – for a quick recap on why we are getting a delivery instead of fetching the food ourselves click here). Cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries is one of my favourite things. To be completely honest with you, I saw they were available, put them in the basket, and then thought about what we could have them.

I offered/will be offering my guests an MB Zinger. An MB Zinger is a cocktail I found on the BBC Good Food website. Two parts cranberry juice to one part bitter lemon. Add lime, garnish with mint leaves. The alcohol the recipe uses is brandy but I will be using rum because that is what I have in the house. I probably won’t bother with the mint. Too much effort. I will make non-alcoholic MB Zingers for the children. For a non-alcoholic version of an MB Zinger, just leave out the alcohol.

The MB in MB Zinger stands for Mary Berry. I am only making them because I came up with the idea of doing a Twelve Dames of Christmas and didn’t actually have any ideas beyond the title. And so, tomorrow I will offer my friends a cocktail so entrenched in the 1980s that it has bitter lemon in it, for clicks, because the internet.

And because I’m writing this the day before it happens, I can’t even tell you what they taste like. What a time to be alive, eh?