As a press cutting editor, with some clients whose interests are 'food' and 'health,' I have spent the last few weeks reading a ridiculously large number of articles about how to cook the Christmas dinner, and the stress and horror it can entail. Now, while I am a good cook, and spent my first six years post-school working as a professional cook, I have found these articles quite daunting. It must be a very hard thing indeed! Because I've never actually cooked a Christmas dinner for more than one person - I've either had it cooked for me, or cooked a solo feast while living in London. And then I noticed an article in which some chef, may have been Jamie Oliver, said something along the lines of 'Christmas dinner may be the only time all year that some people cook from fresh,' and I realised that all these horrendously scaremongering articles in which Christmas dinner is some Big Ordeal are not aimed at me, they're aimed at non-cooks. Christmas dinner is just a big Sunday roast, isn't it? And I do us a proper Sunday roast a couple of times a month anyway - this time we're just going to make the effort of sitting at a table. And making sure that we're so full we can't bloody move afterwards and just sit there groaning. Nevertheless, as a former professional cook, I have taken some shortcut liberties. For example, I have bought some 'Tesco finest turkey gravy,' because gravy's a bit of a pain in the arse to make when I do Sunday dinners, so why not save myself the bother? Also I have bought a turkey crown, rather than a full turkey with giblets, and my guess is that the turkey gravy is almost certainly made from the bits that are cut off a turkey to present a crown for sale anyway, thus saving everyone a lot of bother all round. I have already topped and tailed sprouts and baby carrots and put them in boxes to be microwaved, because after the initial foodie disgust of microwaved food in the 1990s, it's become fairly common knowledge that cooking veg this way utitilises the minimum of water, maintaining all the taste and nutritional value of it. I am well prepared for mid-winter feasting now, particularly as I have also 'barded and larded' the turkey. Larding is spreading with fat, and 'barding' is the process of putting bacon strips across the meat, to help it baste. Barding is also the name of my fiancé, and my name-to-be, so cutely appropriate. Merry Christmas everybody.