It’s December, which means it’s time for the parade of the festive food mutants!
As traditional as jumper guilt (did you know, your synthetic reindeer sweater has PERSONALLY killed a baby seal?) and squeezing out a tear at the John Lewis advert just so you can tell Twitter how sensitive you are, the modern Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without food retailers dishing up products even a tripping Willy Wonka would have balked at. The kind we pretend to be disgusted by, while basically climbing over our own nans to give them our money.
From crisps that taste like trees to cheese that tastes like caramel, and more indecent pork than your ex’s search history, here’s the best of the worst. O come, all ye greedy and hungover.
1. The Yorkshire pudding wrap
When we ask who’ll be Christmas number one this year, we don’t mean the X Factor winner versus a charity tearjerker single. We mean which will be better – Lidl’s turkey Yorkshire pudding wrap, or EAT’s? Early reports suggest EAT takes the crown for flavour, texture and moistness, but Lidl’s has the advantage of being able to keep it in the freezer then hot it up at 2am and eat it under a duvet. Only your heart can decide.
2. Asda Wensleydale with salted caramel and white chocolate
The inevitable evolution of all those times as a kid when you’d shove a lump of cheese and a Quality Street toffee penny in your mouth at the same time. Only now nobody’s going to bollock you for showing off in front of your cousins and dribbling it all down your new jumper. Maybe you could incorporate bacon too, somehow? This is living, truly.
3. Asda’s giant pig in blanket
So you can carve it up to share with the family? No, so you can eat the whole thing in one sitting while pretending to be a tiny elf! Of course.
4. Costa gold turkey and emmental brioche bun
Bready or not, metallic sandwiches are a thing now and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. Apart from Costa, who have rolled out this bad boy like the proverbial pantomime goose. It’s a turkey and cheese sandwich – fine – with a golden shimmer brioche bun. Or as Spandau Ballet once sang, gold. Gold! Always believe in your roll.
5. Iceland Marmite sprouts
The clickbait of the Christmas snack world. We will not succumb.
(But we might suck ’em).
6. Cinnamon Coke Zero
NOW you’re talking. Everybody knows that the Coca-Cola Company invented Christmas back in 1931, when they needed a gimmick to make people want to drink cold, fizzy pop in winter – and it’s only taken another 87 years to come up with a version that actually tastes Christmassy. If we all ignore the fact it tastes exactly like Dr Pepper, cinnamon Coke might just be the festive highlight of the year!
With vodka, I mean. Obviously we’re going to need vodka.
7. Tesco salted caramel and cocoa tortilla curls
The inevitable evolution of all those times as a kid when you’d shove a Dorito and a Quality Street toffee penny in your mouth at the same time. Is there a theme here? Hang on.
8. Aldi three pigs in a blanket
It’s the closest thing to a three-in-a-bed situation most of us are going to get this Christmas, lbh. But why wouldn’t you just eat three normal pigs in blankets? Who wants LESS bacon to sausage in their blanket-pig ratio? I call Brexit.
9. Ocado Mint choc chip cheese
Tired of the ‘After Eights on the forehead’ game? We vote the new Boxing Day diversion du jour be a version of chubby bunnies where you fill your mouth with more and more mint choc chip cheese and have to say “mint choc chip cheese” each time. Until somebody throws up. Hours of mirth!
10. Costa pigs in blanket mac and cheese
Pigs, in blankets, in a mac. Not a sartorial description of my trip to the corner shop on Boxing Day for two more tubs of brandy butter, but the star of Costa’s festive collection. Hallelujah, amen.
11. Tesco Finest Festive Feast Trio
This sandwich pack is billed as a three-course Christmas dinner in sandwich form, which is a lovely idea except we all know only aristocrats and chumps actually have a starter on Christmas Day. The prawn cocktail roll, however, isn’t anywhere near as offensive as the ‘dessert’ sandwich – a chocolate roll filled with cream cheese and ‘port and cherry sauce drizzle’. This is your courtesy reminder that instead of a sandwich that tastes like pudding, there’s this other thing called ‘just having a pudding’. It’s served us well for decades. Give it a go.
12. Sainsburys pigs in blankets tea and Brussels sprouts tea
Fun fact: when Christina Rossetti wrote ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’, this is what she was referring to. The sausage tea is apparently smoky, like lapsang souchong, and also hilariously vegan, while the sprout brew has real pieces of greenery floating in it. Which begs the question, why not save yourself the £1 and neck the drained pot water? Why, full stop? Why. In the hierarchy of entirely useless and unwelcome gifts to take to people’s house at Christmas, it goes: Frankincense, Myrrh, these guys.
13. Iceland Christmas tree crisps
Finally! A snack for all those times you’ve come back from the pub shitfaced and starving on December 24th and ended up on your belly on the carpet, gnawing away on a pine branch... we’ve all done it!
Oh, no, wait. We haven’t. Literally nobody has. Unless these are a niche offering for pregnant women and mouth splinter fetishists, we’re dubious. Where will it end? Crisps that taste of velvet? Tinsel? Flavoured with fairy lights? Are we all going to end up at our posh aunties’ eating canapés knitted from wool and pretend we’ve forgotten what real food tastes like? ARE WE?
Actually they’re weirdly addictive. I take it all back. Merry Crispmas!