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Turkey, beef or scrawny goose? I’m already in a panic about Christmas dinner

It was all a lot simpler when we put up with the Christmas turkey, whether anyone liked it or not

I have the meat sweats. The Christmas meat sweats. I know what you’re thinking: it’s too early for this kind of thing but, trust me, it isn’t. This is exactly when they strike, six weeks from the big day. You wake in the night, and a restless mind searching for a route back to unconsciousness gets prodded by just one question: which animal are you going to cook on Christmas Day?

In the 1970s, when I was a kid, it was so simple. You had turkey. Nobody actually liked it, but then there were loads of things in the 1970s we didn’t like but put up with: beds with sheets and blankets, instant mashed potato, Terry and June. Intensively reared, brutally tough, tasteless turkey with breast meat the colour of a healing knife wound was just something we had to endure. We were all in it together. At least there was enough meat to feed all those family members we hated but were forced to sit down with.

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