Living in the country, I have no qualms about cooking anything my husband brings in for the table. My only request is that I don’t see him dispatch it and that he prepares it for the pot. I have made several rabbit pies, cooked pheasant and pigeon, but the dog has yet to realise that simply lifting partridge isn’t enough as they aren’t likely to be scared into conveniently dropping dead at our feet.
My hubby likes to cook, and years before we moved here, he told me he wanted to do the Christmas Dinner for a change. Rather than traditional turkey, he decided on duck (courtesy of the local supermarket, not his rifle), and insisted I left everything to him as he had ‘a plan’ and was looking forward to giving me a day off .
Working for an international bank at the time, I only had Christmas Day and Boxing Day off for the holidays. I was therefore working on Christmas Eve, though we were usually allowed to finish early, around 2pm. I’d woken up with a headache, thought nothing of it and taken 2 painkillers, then gone to work as normal. By midday though, I wasn’t feeling at all well, and as everything was up straight, my boss said it was OK for me to go home.
Hubby had already put up the tree and deccies as was our norm on Christmas Eve, and had just started preparing everything in the kitchen so that there was the minimum to do on Christmas morning. He took one look at me as I stumbled through the door and told me to go straight to bed. I felt dreadful, and couldn’t even face the cup of tea he brought in to me, so just had water instead.
Unfortunately, I was soon rushing to the bathroom. I wasn’t aware of having eaten anything that could have disagreed with me so violently and had felt fine the day before so had no warning whatsoever.
Hubby, bless him, spent the night, or tried to, in the spare room as I was so restless, hot and clammy, but he always got up to hold my head and rub my back as I had an uncomfortable love affair with the toilet bowl most of the night.
Christmas Day arrived, and I could hardly lift my head off the pillow. I was able to drink hot boiled water now, but couldn’t get warm despite extra blankets and a hot water bottle, and the thought of any food at all just made me feel worse. I felt even more terrible that all his efforts were to be wasted, and he in turn didn’t feel he could sit down to his dinner with me so poorly in the bedroom, which added to my conscience!
I can count the number of times I’ve been ill in the 24 years or so we’ve been together on one hand. That year, I had been hit by some Triple T (two ton truck) flu that knocked me on my back within 24 hours and I was off work until after New Year. Thankfully, no-one else in the office got it.
I never got to taste the duck. In fact, I couldn’t eat anything for about 5 days. Hubby couldn’t eat it all, and the dog had Christmas dinner twice, but sadly a fair bit had to be thrown away. Luckily, he hadn’t got far with the fresh veg on the 24th, but bubble and squeak freezes OK anyway so it wasn’t a problem.
The only ducks we have anything to do with these days are either swimming up river with their babies or these in our bathroom.