“Skipped Christmas with Cookies and Margarita”

When I watch the TV series set in warm places like Australia or California and I find the Christmas episode, I get a great envy. I can’t tolerate the cold, and as much as I like the snow, hot chocolate and the front of the fireplace, I would exchange all this immediately and without regret for a fine sand beach, a margarita[1], a good book and the salt water of the ocean on the suntanned skin.

“No, it’s wonderful. And it’s just for one year. Let’s take a break. Blair’s not here. she’ll be back next year and we can jump back into the Christmas chaos, if that’s what you want. Come on, Nora, please. We skip Christmas, save the money, and go splash in the Caribbean for ten days.”[2]

 

So far, however, the dream of going to celebrate Christmas by the sea is just a dream, a desire that is perhaps unrealisable, either for the family traditions, either for the limited budget of us with precarious jobs…
Anyway, when I read “Skipped Christmas” among the titles in the bookshelves in the Centre, I was attracted by it like a moth by the light. Then when I saw that the author was John Grisham[3] but that this novel with a red and green cover (not by chance!) was NOT a legal thriller my curiosity touched the highest levels.

I mean, Grisham is not an “author” of legal, he is THE AUTHOR of legal!!!

I think in my parents’ house there are at least three shelves full of his novels, some of which are true masterpieces.

It is true that when a writer is virtuous he can write about anything. But I’m always a bit sceptical when the authors who have created their own position in the literary scene always applying themselves to the same genre decide to try their hand at something else.

Will he be up to it?
Has he swelled his head?
Is it just an itch that he had to scratch?


I took it without too many expectations, I just liked the plot that undeniably reflected my desire to escape from all the thousand things to do during the holidays and from the cold, and knowing the author that I had always liked … I said to myself “why not trying?”.
I did the right thing!
“Skipping Christmas” is one of those novels that you read laughing and with absolute joviality, but which at the same time glees you with its harsh criticism, far from veiled, towards the hypocrisy and intransigence without limits of the middleclass, mostly conformist.


“For her, the holidays began in late October and steadily gathered momentum until the big bang, a ten-hour marathon on Christmas Day with four meals and a packed house.” 
[4]

 
A series of misunderstandings and gags that take you into the everyday incongruities of all of us; as much as the heart is with Nora and Luther and their desire for escape, change and freedom, (he was more convinced than her about the change to tell the truth), everybody reflects himself in the characters of the neighbours that before hinder them but then, when needed, they are ready to help them.

It reminded me of my wonderful, very numerous, family! You  can dispute, criticise, dream of an escape from them, in the end you can always count on them, with the certainty that a laugh will always be assured.

 

From the book has been done an equally amusing and successful film and I suggest you read the book and then watch the movie around mid-November when the Christmas-themed ads start to appear everywhere, the streets begin to transform and the desire to escape becomes almost irredeemably.

Because at the end of everything, this book is also a tribute to the much-mistreated Christmas, the true spirit of the recurrence and the need to have some certainty in life, even the unbearable tradition of the sixteen courses ….

 

Christmas cookies
(the recipe is from my English friend, John)

INGREDIENTS for 500 g of biscuits

-250g. 00 flour
-125g. butter
-100g. powdered sugar
-2 eggs (only the yolk, keep the egg whites aside for the decoration)
– the tip of a teaspoon of vanilla extract

31_fuga dal Natale
To decorate
– Christmas forms (trees, stars, hearts, Santa Claus)
-1 egg white
-120g. powdered sugar
-100g. good quality dark chocolate

Method

We cut the butter into small cubes and put it in the mixer together with the flour and a pinch of salt in order to create a sandy product. We place on a shelf with the typical fountain shape and add sugar, vanilla and two yolks. We massage it all very quickly so that it does not heat up too much, producing a conformal dough. Then roll the mixture into a transparent film and let it rest for at least ½ hour. After the time, put the dough out of the fridge and roll out the dough with a rolling pin with a thickness of about ½ cm; using molds to create cookies. Arrange them on a cake tin covered with baking paper and bake at 180 degrees for 10min. around, checking that they do not darken too much. Once removed from the oven let cool while we set the glaze. We whisk an egg white, from those put aside, when it is semi-whipped we add the powdered sugar to blend well so that it is thick and creamy. Helping us with a sac-à-poche we adorn all the biscuits. Once cooled, you can put on some nice gift bags (or eat them while reading the book!).

 

 


[1] https://www.liquor.com/recipes/margarita/
[2] From the novel.
[3] http://www.jgrisham.com/
[4] From the novel.

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