All you need is love…..

Xmas_shot…not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. As the inside temperature of the house, this morning, was a crisp 9°C it was no wonder that nothing was stirring, it was more of a wonder that anything was still breathing. All need for mouse traps had disappeared, as the mice had repaired outside to the garden for warmth. It was the romance of living in this tiny stone refrigerator that led me to start putting down my thoughts and sharing them with consenting adults on the internet. I have now been doing this for precisely two years. During that time it may have become clear to you that I have a jaundiced view of festive celebration. This is not a result of meanness of spirit but more of a protection against the disappointment so often created by great expectations. The ghosts of Christmas past loom large in my memory with the highlights being confined to the anticipation of what was to come, rather like a blind date who turned out to be exactly that. Yuletide comes tapping in with a white stick, the Blind Pugh of festivals, offering us a wonderful hidden treasure. As in the book, the hopes and desires for this treasure are misplaced. The treasure has turned into a trinket and that was never the intention.

Strangely enough, Christmas Eve in the kitchen has never disappointed. Even before I realised that I could cook, when food was just fuel, I remember the smells, warmth and atmosphere of the preparation of the Christmas feast. Now that cooking is so much part of me, the pleasure of preparing food on Christmas Eve has not diminished, even though it has become my personal Groundhog Day. The charm of Christmas dinner lies in its immutable sameness. The annual struggle, as witnessed in magazines, TV programmes and glossy books, to create something “different” for Christmas is as successful as trying to create something different for sex. The essential ingredients of the former and the physical limitations of the latter constrain the possibilities to cosmetic changes which offer more in anticipation than in consummation. This is just the way of the things and it is for similar reasons that expensive underwear shops exist, as the product that they sell is not far removed from Christmas decorations, just less itchy. So, making a good Christmas dinner has to be done with love and care within the limitations put upon us – no different to a loving fuck with the one you love. Just think how often that is successful – which may account for the amount of disappointing Christmas dinners that will be brought to the table this year, as ever. All you need is love.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Art photography, Childhood, Childhood memories, Christmas, Christmas decorations, Christmas Eve, Cooking, Digital photography, Dreams, Emotion, Excellence, Expectation, family, fireplace, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, friendship, harmony, Humour, Illusion, lifestyle, Memory, Photography, Reality, Sex, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to All you need is love…..

  1. ambrosiana says:

    Brilliant Roger!! and the pic looks like a Xmas post card!

    • Thanks, Giselle. It was an advertising picture that I shot before I moved to France. It’s a very idealistic view that took several set builders, a stylist, two home economists, two photographic assistants,an art director and me about three days to produce:)

  2. Sounds awfully like meaness of spirit to me 🙂

  3. Interesting story, and interesting to know about all the work behind that cosy picture. 😉 I am looking forward to our x-mas meal that is traditional lutefisk (stockfish made soft like gele with sodium hydroxid). The problem these days most people eat x-mas dishes all the time before x-mas, so when x-mas arrives they are tired of it. By the way, my livingroom now have 12 degrees (with 3 electric ovens), so I need to lit the fire… No mice trap needed this year.

    • I’ve never eaten stockfish, but I’ve heard that it is as hard as wood before it’s is made soft. What a good change from turkey! Our wood fire is blazing now and the temperature is beginning to go up – I’ll have to look out for the mice coming back in from the garden:)

  4. spree says:

    Your photo is our collective idealized Christmas table Roger. Beautiful! (All it needs is the people we love.)

  5. Mad Dog says:

    Look on the bright side, getting rid of the mice is a big plus 😉
    I have to confess, that after seeing endless Thanksgiving and pre Christmas turkey blog posts this year, i hope I never eat one again!
    It’s roast beef and goose for me this year 🙂

  6. John Harvey says:

    Wonderful! My sentiments exactly, apart from the superior quality of your prose and skill in the kitchen. Wishing you and Jenny a very happy Christmas in your cosy refrigerator.

  7. Great post, Roger! Loved your analogy with sex… I guess we all are thinking on what to cook this Christmas to make it a bit different…well, apparently all we have to do is change companions, that’s basically all the innovation we can add! 😉 but I think I’ll stay with the same old, same old… Happy two years anniversary!

  8. This year I finally got smart: I tried out new recipes for Christmas dinner last month. One or two keepers, but the rest were “meh.”
    Gorgeous fantasy shot.

  9. Being with the person I love most made me eat more. (I eat more when I’m happy.) 🙂 On Christmas Eve, we go to the same French restaurant in Montreal, because they make it seem like the meal is prepared with love.

  10. Michelle says:

    I was going to ask, but see the answer in the comments above, whether that was one of your old ad shots. You and those stylists and assorted professionals certainly made it look like a great holiday. But I told Steve after Thanksgiving: I’ve cooked my (maybe 3rd or 4th? and) last turkey. I don’t care how heritage-breed-organic-free-range-pet-raised blah blah blah they may be … turkeys just aren’t that tasty. Stay warm, and loved!

  11. Tandy says:

    Love is all you need!

  12. Eha says:

    Well, some of us think it and some of us have the God given talent to put it into words . . . actually, Roger, you have made me feel quite ‘Christmassy’ . . . thank you . . .

  13. this is golden: “The ghosts of Christmas past loom large in my memory with the highlights being confined to the anticipation of what was to come, rather like a blind date who turned out to be exactly that.”

  14. ChgoJohn says:

    For me, whether it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving, there’s that moment when I look around, see the gathering of family and/or friends, and realize the meal has served its purpose. All you need is love, indeed, Roger.
    Another great post, Roger.

  15. Still love that photo – even after you told the story of its origin, and shooting it on a hot day, with a fire blazing….It’s a Christmas Myth, all by itself.
    Nice post.

  16. This has been my focus this year.. I’m fed up with the hype and the malls.. but I do love my turkey. Probs because I only make it two times a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas and my family runs off with the leftovers.

  17. I´m sure I´ve seen that photo in one of my old cookery books! Yes, all you need is love (bah, humbug) and probably a couple of ducks or a large goose in our house…

  18. That is one impressive table! Puts mine to shame.

  19. I wish you the warmth that your photo gives to us, both for your spirit and home for the upcoming holidays. Congratulations on your two years of blogging…a place that always gives me pause for thought and enjoyment.

  20. Just love, for me, family, and something different every year to eat, depending on what takes my fancy in the local shops (although that does always include foie gras and oysters!). It’s a beautifully posed photo, but apart from the candles and the warmth – important ingredients – it’s a fantasy British Christmas that I don’t feel part of.

  21. Your photograph looks like the ideal Christmas, Roger. I agree with you: love is all you need. And maybe flexibility.

  22. Roger, another homerun post. I always enjoy your sardonic sense of humor and you hit it just right, as the reality of Christmas rarely lives up to the expectation. However with two little granddaughters to keep us entertained, I am hoping that this year’s reality will exceed expectations. Perhaps that is what keeps us going, love AND hope. Great picture of an idealized Dickensian Christmas, even if it was staged and cost a bloody fortune. Loved the allusion to Blind Pugh, haven’t thought about him in years, now I am dearly holding onto Weyth’s image of him as he taps his way up to the Admiral Benbow Inn, in one of my favorite childhood books. Happy Christmas!

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