GE 1997-8 Season 4 Episode 16: Christmas Feast
Note: this is not a transcript, but a working draft of the script, so there may be differences in the aired version.
PAUL: (loud sniff) Ahhhh, smell that? Roasting Goose.
Savoury Dressing. Hot pudding. Christmas fruit cake
steeped in dark rum.
More than the lights, more than the snow-muted toll of the
raffle bell, more than the crush of shoppers, the smells of
Christmas cooking take me back. It's a feast day for all,
so forgive me for thinking that Yule tide cuisine in the Moth
household was special. Special because my maternal uncle Verno
was a cook ... sorry, sorry he was "a chef". And he didn't go
by Verno, but, in accordance with his French passport, Giscard.
Uncle Verno/Giscard went overseas with the Newfoundland Regiment
in 193.. and finding life as cannon fodder for a bunch of in-bred
English Generals not to his liking, quit the service ... deserted
they say. Rather than return to the fold and face a firing squad,
he disappeared into France.
He first worked as kitchen help before assuming the identity of a
sous-saucier who had perished in a hideous bernaise accident.
Giscaird quickly became a member of French gastronomique society.
In 1953, Uncle Giscard began his annual Christmas visits to
Newfoundland. He brought with him ingredients so strange that they
seemed to me the fixings of some wonderful witch's kit - truffles,
caviar, confit and the cheese! Roquefort and Pont Leveque and Camembert!
Camembert ! In 1953 St. John's !
And ... and he brought wine. (gulps) Nuits St. Georges, Gevry-Chambertin,
Pichon Lalande, Haut Brion. Every bottle a sumptuous Gallic delight.
But the wine that I remember was not French but Portugese, a Port wine.
Christmas dinner always concluded with a hunk of Stilton, walnuts and
a bottle of 1908 Taylor's Vintage Port. Uncle Giscard must have possessed
a couple of pipes worth of the celebrated glug, for year after year a bottle
of that venerable vintage appeared on the table. I was a boy and serious
indulgence was prohibited, but I would be allowed that one crystal glass
of the sweet, yet never cloying, ambrosia of Oporto. Its taste? I'll
spare you the string of predictable wine-talk adjectives - it ... was ...
delicious. And what did it induce in this young lad ? A warmth, a feeling
of well being, of everything being right with the world. It was a sensation
I would come to find irresistable until, by the Christmas of 1989, I wouldn't
start a day without it. It wasn't Vintage Port I was drinking that Xmas
so many years later, but Bourbon. Bourbon to take the edge off the blow
I had given myself for a present - wrapped in clear plastic with nary a bow.
I drank and drank and drank, and wept for a bit, fired a few rounds through
the ceiling, and then went off looking for more blow - I was having such a
good Christmas. Moral - if it feels good, do it, but not to excess. For
this Christmas I can no longer enjoy a glass of Port, or any rum in my
eggnog - and though I can't say that I miss it, I wish I could.