It’s harder than ever to enjoy the holidays.
It’s cold and dark all the time and suddenly you have several thousand social obligations in varying shades of intensity. If you’re not already broke when the season begins you’ll become broke very quickly. If you have one of the increasingly common 24/7/365 service/retail jobs, you won’t get much in the way of a “holiday” at all. And God help you indeed if you have a shitty relationship with your family this time of year, because you will be endlessly reminded that you have failed at love.
The whole thing, honestly, is a racket. This is not a controversial opinion.
People have been hand-wringing about the holidays for longer than most of us have been alive. The basic premise of most beloved holiday classics (starting with 1843’s A Christmas Carol) is how to find that inscrutable seed of seasonal joy beneath the mountain of bullshit. Charlie Brown was lamenting the commercialization of Christmas some half a century ago, in a fictionalized small town that probably still had Sunday shopping laws. Today’s Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend orgy would likely give the poor bald child a stroke.
But just like unto the Peanut kids, we too must seek out the sacred among the profane. Charlie Brown’s tree was garbage, but it contained within itself the possibility of an unthinkable magnificence—just like the King of Kings born to an impoverished teenage mother in a manger among the dung.
This is the true lesson of Christmas. And it has been brought down to us again today by a man in Calgary who baked a Kielbasa Wellington and found within it the Holy Family and the infant Christ.
Paul Ritchie was having a reasonably ordinary day—I mean, he did bake a fucking Kielbasa Wellington—when he had a low-key spiritual revelation while eating his supper. There was something oddly striking about the innards of his sausage pastry, but it wasn’t until he was out walking his dog later that it struck him. This was no ordinary culinary experiment: Ritchie’s repas had unwittingly invoked the blessed Baby Jesus.
Look: we all know our homeboy The Lord loves popping up in people’s foodstuffs from time to time to remind them of his infinite love and also that he is constantly judging the shit out of us at all times. But usually he flies solo, so to see his whole posse roll up in a crumby mess of pork and peppers only underscores the legitimacy of this miracle.
This Kielbasa Wellington was obviously inspired by the Spirit. No one on earth would ever be tempted to bake a pork sausage, red pepper and olives together inside a pastry crust without supernatural direction. The meal depicted in the photo is uncanny in that it looks like something you could theoretically eat, but that you never actually would. It’s a perfect vehicle for God to declare both “unto us a child is born” and also “motherfucker this pastry is as dry as a middle-school diorama board, do not eat it.”
If there’s a secret hotline to heaven in every tube of processed pork, it’s something that Newfoundlanders have known and kept secret for years. It’s why the Big Stick Bologna Man is the centre of our annual Christmas parade.
The Big Stick is a delicacy and a sacred mystery. People form great winding queues to hang him on their yuletide trees, for in the Bologna we see God make true his promise that the last shall be first. All the effluvia of the slaughterhouse is transubstantiated into the finest meat of all. If you cut open a Big Stick Wellington, you would reveal the glorious and awful splendour to come on the Day of Judgement.
The Kielbasa Christmas glyphs the redemptive economy of the universe: that the swine are ultimately indistinguishable from the pearls. Small wonder it all transpires around the sacred winter solstice, the yearly death and rebirth of the sun. The meat tubes remind us that even in the darkest and coldest night of the year, our star still shines somewhere beyond the horizon. Morning always comes again as the bright immortal dawn of another summer day, and this liminal gap in the cosmos is bridged by a string of sausage.
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