I’ve been fascinated and curiously unsettled turn and turn about following MASTERCHEF THE PROFESSIONALS. This season’s finale was last night and the winner, Mark, I am sure a future innovator in the industry, produced dishes that combined taste with the lightness of touch and originality of the most gifted artist. I shed a tear at his tears. Mine were of regard and delight that his talents are recognised.
But there were moments when I wondered at the contrariness of the deceit of fine dining. My Dad, before settling into professional theatre, trained in some of the best restaurants in London, ending up as a pastry chef.
Like many chefs we rarely saw him cook at home but he developed my palette and taught me about food. It’s a world that creates perfection. It’s unreal. It’s often unhealthy in it’s preoccupations and yet it is beguiling because it encourages us to believe perfection is in some way achievable, and even desirable.
Juxtapose that with SHREK THE HALLS that I watched while I had my first brew of the day. I have lovely memories of watching SHREK with our youngest children.
The conceit in SHREK THE HALLS is that Shrek, as an ogre who has never experienced a Christmas celebration wants to make a perfect day for his wife and babies. His perfection might not be everyone’s. He did a fantastic job of recycling to decorate the shack. The decorated toilet seat as a wreath on the front door was a particular master stroke!
Shrek learns the hard way that Christmas isn’t created for everyone else as an exquisite experience with them enjoying the ‘production’ created for them. It is a muddle of mishap, misunderstanding, laughter, cute moments and touching base.
The perfection of the season is in living in the moment.
When I used to watch our children opening their gifts, busting to see what they had, I made my rather philosophical mind, prone to wandering, focus in the moment. Their faces, the smell of chocolate in the air, the comparisons with years past, the breakages. The mock screams of the ‘Dogs’ have eaten…’
Maybe we need to embrace the good enough. Refuse to buy into (quite literally) what the media tell us we should be and do, and enjoy a little festive wallowing in being ourselves.
Sounds like fun to me. As Donkey said in SHREK THE HALLS: Christmas isn’t Christmas until the first person in the family cracks.
I claim my crackedness.
Happy Christmas Day, one and all!