USA Day 6 – Californian Christmas

Sunday 25 December 2022

Christmas Day

Although I’ve travelled extensively, I’ve only not made it home for Christmas on three occasions and two of those were due to diplomatic postings, so still very British affairs.

Today, we have our California Christmas, which is different in a number of ways. First, timing needs to include factoring in calls to family in different time zones. As daughter no 2’s boyfriend is in Australia, and thus 18 hours ahead of us, Christmas phase 1 was last night.

This morning, after a festive breakfast of bagels with strawberry cream cheese and blueberry cream cheese (I don’t understand why Philadelphia don’t sell fruity cream cheese in the UK!) it’s time to call family in England. Not the most successful of calls as my voice is really croaky and when I try to talk, it rapidly deteriorates into coughing.

Christmas breakfast

Next up, to wear out the dog so she hopefully sleeps through Christmas lunch instead of drooling all over the table.

Stanford Dish

Today we have chosen Stanford Dish. Situated on a hill overlooking Palo Alto, and so named because there’s a radio telescope on the top of the hill, the area consists of a number of trails.

Stanford Dish

As I am still struggling with the flu, I return to bed to rest. When the others arrive at the Dish, they realise dogs are not allowed, so the old man has to walk Mariah elsewhere. Only daughter no 2 actually makes it to the Dish, as part of her marathon training.

View from Stanford Dish

Christmas Lunch

Back home it’s time to tackle a vegetarian Christmas lunch, made with food bought last minute from Target, in an unfamiliar kitchen. Before I get started, some googling is necessary. The oven is in Fahrenheit and there aren’t any measurements I understand on the measuring jug either. And don’t even get me started on the fact that the pan handles, lids and utensils are all metal and I keep burning my hands.

Cooking with an audience

First up, veggie pigs in blankets in a country where sausages are somewhat different to what we’re used to back home. We have bought a couple of different sorts to experiment with. In addition, the old man has had a meat panic buy and purchased some sausages of his own.

Christmas lunch

Next up, gravy. There was no vegetarian gravy in Target, so we must make from scratch from what we can find in the cupboards, which are stocked with some weird and wonderful produce. I give you onion gravy with a splash of pomegranate vinegar. Add in some vegetables and we have a veritable, if slightly unorthodox feast.

Christmas lunch

For dessert, we have a Ghirardelli’s chocolate brownie kit to bake.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Brownie

After another a quick nap, we spend the afternoon watching Matilda the Musical. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll finally be over this damn flu and we can explore a little further afield…


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