Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 628

38 8 DECEMBER 2022 Weekending DIANA HENRY Finding novel ways to rekindle fond Christmas memories BOOK IT IN Finding time to read old favourites can give you plenty of festive cheer ‘I can’t remember the last time I opened a tube of glitter, but the sight of one gives my heart a lift and warms my body’ I’ve always thought a good Christmas is enjoyed partly in your head. I’mnot saying that it’s not great to see friends or enjoy the Christmas Daymeal – I relish these – but that a lot of festive joy has to be conjured up in your imagination and throughmemories. You have to allow yourself to think about Christmases fromyour childhood. I can’t remember the last time I opened a tube of glitter, but the sight of one gives my heart a lift and warms my whole body. As a child I used somuch glitter at Christmas – to make paper decorations, Christmas cards and to brighten the black paper buttons onmy cotton wool snowman – that a tube of silver glitter is as powerful for me as one of Proust’s madeleines. Another way to immerse yourself in Christmas vibes is books. I intend to domore of this every year and last year I did it, searching the house for the books that hadmademe feel Christmassy. I always start with Laura IngallsWilder’s Little House in the BigWoods. On Christmas morning, the girls reach into their stockings to find nothing more than red and white striped peppermint candy and redmittens, but these simple presents mean the world to them. The Lion, theWitch and theWardrobe had a huge impact onme – I cried somuch when Aslan died that I soakedmy pillow – but one of its pleasures is to be pulled into a snowy white world. It’s a harsh one, despite its beauty, until the echo of bells is carried by the wind and Father Christmas, with red robe and fur hood, arrives. You knew, then, things will be alright inNarnia. There’s an abundance of other childhood Christmas reading. Anne’s Christmas gift of a pu -sleeved dress in Anne of Green Gables, the Christmas breakfast – which they give away – in LittleWomen and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in which “no less than 12 towering Christmas trees stood around the room, some sparkling with tiny icicles, some glittering with hundreds of candles”. When it comes to adult literature, I don’t want to read AChristmas Carol again, so amalways on the lookout for other festive scenes. I recommend Laurie Lee’s memoir, Village Christmas, not just for its frost but for its long, lovingly described Christmas lunch, and Truman Capote’s account of Christmas baking fromhis Alabama childhood in AChristmasMemory. The detailed description of the Christmas meal in ThomasMann’s family saga, Buddenbrooks, is one of the best I’ve ever read and if you can get your hand on The Gift of theMagi by American writer OHenry, do so. At the top of the pile is JeanetteWinterson’s Christmas Days. It brings short stories, recipes and a lot of wisdom– about cooking and Christmas. I’ll be reading it again this year. Diana is The Sunday Telegraph’s food writer @dianahenryfood SHOUT OUT TO MY EGGS They’re the unsung heroes of the kitchen, but are you getting the most from your eggs? If a recipe asks you to separate them, for example, you can freeze unused whites until ready to use in meringues, mousses or light omelettes. You can also beat whole eggs to freeze until ready to use. In both cases, label them clearly, then use within three months. And if it’s just egg whites you need, there is an alternative in aquafaba – the water that canned chickpeas come in – for many of your baking needs. There are lots of great recipes with egg whites (or aquafaba) at waitrose.com. ‘If you’re visiting friends or family over Christmas, the No.1 Luxury Chocolate Edition is the perfect gift to take with you – a superindulgent box of luxury chocolates, all beautifully hand-decorated’ SARAH BREADMORE Partner & product developer