What is Christmas without the Christmas feast? In this much requested column from The Sunday Telegraph, Mark profiles the big bird:

 

 

 

 

” As Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s classic “Turkey Lurkey Time” puts it:

  Let us make a wish and may all our wishes come true
A snowy blowy Christmas
A mistletoey Christmas
A Turkey Lurkey Christmas to you…

  But in the British Christmas there’s not much snow outside of Richard Curtis movies, and in these days of sexual harassment suits and orientational diversity the mistletoe is an imperilled tradition. So that leaves the turkey, which doesn’t so much lurk as squat over the Brit Christmas, its poultry penumbra casting a pall over the season. As Bacharach and David urge:

  Ev’rybody gather round the table
Eat all the turkey you are able…

  Easier said than done. From my side of the Atlantic, where Christmas is a one-day holiday called “Christmas Day”, the interminable two-week British Christmas seems to have been fixed by some EU health agency as the safest minimum time in which to polish off the big bootiful British butterball, as the vast carcass slowly shrivels from Christmas Day through Boxing Day, Christmas Bank Holiday Tuesday, Hogmanay, the first Hogmonday after Hogtuesday, until the last relatives leave and you can put your feet up and enjoy a nice decaf turkey latte.

Indeed, one cannot help noticing that the traditional Christmas delicacy seems to have fused with Britain’s vaguely parodic approach to the holiday season. “Turkey” means a large North American gallinaceous bird but also, in American showbusiness vernacular, a flop. Yet these days the latter usage is far more prevalent in Britain. The last time I spent the holiday season in the auld sod I motored down from London to the country on Christmas Eve and, instead of jingly versions of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland”, every single radio station from Thames Valley Supergold to Clwyd FM had some sour disc-jockey counting down “Your All-Time Worst Christmas Turkeys”. “