A V&A Collections Christmas Dinner

I’ve left it incredibly late yet again, but this Christmas I won’t be charging like a lunatic up the aisles with a sweaty, panicked look on my face. I won’t stand defeated in front of empty shelves where the vegetables used to be, trying to think of an appropriate alternative. And I won’t be placing my items in the bagging area. That’s because this year I’ve decided not to do my Christmas food shop in a high street supermarket but instead visit the V&A collections to see if I can still get all the items on my list. 

So, here we go…

Every respectable Christmas dinner should start with a prawn cocktail. So, first on the shopping list are prawns, supplied here by this beautiful 20th century copy of a Kalighat painting.
 
Painting, prawn with three fishes, Kolkata, India, about 1940, watercolour on paper. Museum no. IS.2-1954, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
I’ll be making my own seafood sauce this year, so that’s mayonnaise…
 
Proof labels for Duchess of Devonshire's sauce, designed by Ian Logan Design, colour offset lithographed from wood engravings by Edwina Ellis, 1986. Museum no. E.660-1994, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
…and tomato ketchup. This advert from 1952 shows an artfully presented dish of sausages and macaroni. Very Mediterranean!
 
Advertisement for Kraft tomato ketchup, in Illustrated Magazine, 23rd February, 1952. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
Next on the list is lettuce, ideally Baby Gem. Perfect!
 
Dish moulded in the form of lettuce leaves, Longton Hall porcelain factory, about 1755. Museum no. 414:342-1885, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
And to finish, some lemons courtesy of this late 19th century wallpaper design by C. F. A. Voysey.
 
Wallpaper design, 'The Ornamental Tree', C. F. A. Voysey, late 19th century, pencil and watercolour on paper. Museum no. E.270-1913, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
Oh, and some bread, perfectly presented here on this gent’s head. Many thanks!
 
Photograph showing a man in a cap with a board laden with bread balanced on his head, Edgar Scamell, 1895. Museum no. E.3608-2000, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
So, starter done, now to the main course.
 
A turkey, naturally. I’ve chosen a very plump looking Mughal turkey cock from 1612.
 
Painting, turkey, Mansur, Mughal, about 1612, opaque watercolour and gold on paper. Museum no. IM.135-1921, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
Potatoes for roasting – a large basket full.
 
Photograph, Dundrum grounds, Lady Clementina Hawarden, 1859-1861. Museum no. PH.457:60-1968, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
And my personal Christmas dinner favourite, parsnips. 
 
Plate, Chelsea Porcelain factory, about 1755, soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels. Museum no. C.46-1944, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
More vegetables, this time carrots, supplied here in the form of an elaborate pantomime costume.
 
Costume design by Anthony Holland for Stanley Baxter as an Ugly Sister in Cinderella, King's Theatre, Edinburgh, 1979. Museum no. S.550-2000, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
And sprouts…well it seems the unloved sprout also remains unloved in our collection but whilst wandering around the fresh produce section, I did come across this 1940s poster encouraging us to eat more green vegetables.
 
'Don't forget green vegetables keep you fit', poster by Tom Eckersley and Eric Lombers for the Ministry of Food, United Kingdom, 1940s or 1950s, colour lithograph. Museum no. E.876-2004, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
Stuffing.
 
Photograph, woman working on the Pedigree Soft Toys factory production line stuffing  teddy bears, 1971. Museum no. MOC. BTM 0077, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
Gravy.
 
Gravy cup, François Hébert's porcelain factory, 1755, Paris. Museum no. C.511-1909, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
And cranberry sauce. I’m sure Chef Lazenby has a pot of cranberry sauce somewhere in his extensive range. If not, it’s very possible he could persuade you otherwise with his hypnotic eyes.
 
'Lazenby's "Chef" Sauce & other delicacies on every table', colour lithograph poster designed and printed by Nathaniel Lloyd & Co., London, 1910. Museum no. E.67-1973, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
And finally, dessert.
 
Obviously, Christmas pudding. Less obvious would be Cliff Richard, dressed as Santa, mixing a giant Christmas pudding…
 
Photographic negative, Cliff Richard dressed with a santa's cape mixing a giant christmas pudding at J.Lyons, Cadby Hall, photographed by Harry Hammond, England, 1958. Museum no. S.14253-2009, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
Always with custard and never with brandy sauce, especially when it’s Bean’s rich and creamy.
 
Packaging for Bean's 'rich and creamy custard powder'. Museum no. E.1172-1989, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
 
Success!
 
A festive feast courtesy of ‘The Victoria and Albert Museum – The world’s greatest museum of art and design (and Christmas dinners).’
 
Merry Christmas and buon appetito!

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