“The hell with Christmas!”
“What?” He stopped, breeks half-buttoned. It was winter dusk, and dark in the room, but even by candlelight, he could see the color rising in her face.
“The hell with Christmas, the hell with Cross Creek — and the fucking hell with you, too!” She punctuated this last with a wooden soap dish from the washstand, which whizzed past his left ear and smacked into the wall behind him.
“Now just a fucking minute!”
“Don’t you use language like that to me!”
“But you –“
“You and your ‘important things!’ Her hand tightened on the big china ewer and he tensed, ready to duck, but she thought better of it and her hand relaxed.
Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chap 33)
I know Christmas can be tense, what with all the emotions flying around, but whoa, Bri, watch the green eyes when you’re hurling the projectiles, eh?
In the hopes of promoting real-life familial harmony at this stressful time of year, here’s a little wishlist to help you buy for the Outlander fan/foodie in your life. Sit back, relax and scroll through with a wee dram in hand. And of course, feel free to add any of your own suggestions in the comments.
Pick right, and you may avoid a witch hunt…or at least the soap dish.
Spurtle — if I can’t have the wooden ladle that Jamie carved for Claire for Christmas in The Fiery Cross, then my second choice is this traditional Scottish kitchen stick. A gift sure to stir the passions of any woman, particularly a 20th Century college graduate stuck smack in the middle of 18th Century domestic drudgery. Just don’t turn your back once you’ve gifted her with it, ken?
Use it to make oatmeal or barley crowdie and you’ll never have lumps again. Wanna taste? Oh…wait…you’ll need to grab a spoon for that.
Herriot Grace — but seriously, if you really want to get on her good side, then you can’t go wrong at Herriot Grace. The father (carver) and daughter (marketer) team sell everything from rolling pins to to mortars & pestles, to wooden ladles just like that one of Claire’s (minus the mint-leaf design on the handle).
Amputation Saw — just in case you look out the window to see a disgruntled 2000 lb buffalo walking into your dooryard, hellbent on finding the tall, red-headed bugger that shot him in the arse.
Hand-Crank Lantern — a whole lot brighter (and less smelly) than a peat fire or tallow candle, plus you don’t have to bring along the recharger when you go through the stones!
Hand-Operated Grain Mill — fresh-milled flour would take Jenny’s Everyday Bread to a whole new level. Plus, this particular model can be hooked up to a stationery bike or treadmill to make your pseudo-colonial life even easier.
No doubt that Brianna would eventually figure out how to hookup Clarence the mule to the thing, in between firing clay pipes for her Roman bath in the backwoods of North Carolina.
Cast Iron Pans — nothing (except copper) holds a steadier heat. But when the power goes out and you’re cooking on top of the wood stove or over an open fire, it won’t be the $500 copper saute pan that you reach for first. Cast iron, when seasoned properly, is as non-stick as teflon, but doesn’t flake off into your food and poison your bloodstream. (Now that’s what I call a bonus!)
I rescued the 3 pans above from our little island’s recycling station last year. They were rusty, neglected and full of wood bugs, so I took them home and thrust them into the red hot woodstove to burn off the crud and give them a second life.
I don’t recommend cruising the recycling station for gifts. But if you are thinking about giving cast-iron (and my counsel is to think long and hard before you buy a woman a frying pan for Christmas), then go pre-seasoned and North American made. While they may cost a little more, if you take care of them, they will last a lifetime — and you can use whatever metal, wooden or silicon implement you want.
Just never, ever, wash them with soap. Hot water and a dish brush will do it.
Wooden Toothbrush – if you really want to live like Jamie and Claire, then you’ll ditch that plastic toothbrush and get a wooden one instead for each of your loved ones’ Christmas stockings. They’re BPA free and come with your choice of plant-based bristles or those made from the sterilised back hairs of a Chinese boar.
Better than ripping up your gums with a frayed willow branch, and a great way to get one over on the white sow.
Kindle — it may seem a little 21st Century, but this is a little reminder for My Englishman regarding my very own wishlist — pre-loaded with Outlander thru An Echo in the Bone would be stellar — thanks Babe!
Actually, while I’m thinking about it, you may as well throw all of the stories about your countryman, Lord John, on there too. It pays to be thorough, aye? 😉
Last but not least we have Herself’s latest offering to us all, released on November 29. It’s at the end only by reason of being the most obvious Outlander-themed gift of the season, and coincidentally, probably the one most of us bought for ourselves as soon as we possibly could. My advice is to check the bookshelf before you go shopping.
And with that, I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas — the lot o’ ye. 😉