The turkey came from the local butcher. This is the sausage shop on Hoe Street, no longer called Postons. It was a Norfolk Black, 14 lbs. Some people say sniffily that the Norfolk Black has a low meat to bone ratio, even by the standards of properly grown meat. These people have not seen the amount of turkey in my fridge. I didn't cook it in foil, but I put a double layer of buttered muslin over the breast. This was easy (melt a pack of butter, put scrunched up muslin square in pan, spread over bird) and gives you a sense of deep connection with the 19th century that will never be provided by aluminium foil.
I had planned to put it in the oven at 9:30, but my senses were confounded by being woken repeatedly through the blackest part of the night by my daughter, delighted by the various treats provided by Father Christmas. The last time, I realised with a start that it was 8:30, and dashed to get the bird cooking as soon as possible; which turned out to be 45 minutes earlier than the plan. And so every other timing clicked forward, one after the other like dominoes, and we ended up sitting down to lunch at 1:15 instead of 2.
The meal is heavily constrained; Christmas morning is not a good moment to apply the doctrine of free will. With only six people for lunch, I thought I could get away with a minimalist version. I like turkey; I'm sure other birds are fine too, but somehow less festive. Roast potatoes; Nigella Lawson's recipe, with a tablespoon of semolina shaken into the potatoes after par-boiling and before roasting. Sprouts, for sure. They should be small, and fresh, and you need do nothing to them apart from boiling, steaming or (in this case) microwaving them for long enough that they're not hard but not so long that they're soft. I glazed the tiny carrots. Bacon-wrapped chipolatas aren't optional round our house. Stuffing; I like to buy the ready-made sausagemeat stuffing you get in the posher supermarkets (this one was apricot & almond), and cook it in a lump separately from the turkey.
And the three traditional sauces; cranberry sauce, bread sauce, and gravy made from a mixture of pan juices and giblet stock. The recipe suggested I reserve the liver to chop, fry and blend in at the last minute. I quickly identified the heart (it's small, and, well, heart-shaped) and the gizzard (it's the one with rocks in). But which of these internal lumps of turkey is the kidneys and which is the liver? I gave up and boiled the lot of them. And it was delicious.
So now I have a very large plate of sliced breast, and a smaller plate of sliced dark meat. Three freezer bags, each containing about the right amount of smaller chunks for one risotto. Two frozen pots of gravy, and two of the remaining giblet stock. And a stockpot completely full of skin, bones and tiny scrapings of meat, ready for boiling.