Last week’s excursion to Auchan was educational. Our final shopping list before Christmas had all the usual suspects upon it – except Mince Pies, which we already knew were strictly British fare. So, this being our first proper Christmas in Strasbourg we had the chance to find out exactly what the French do and don’t have for Christmas Dinner.

On the downside – Christmas crackers play no part in the festivities. Which means no funny hats no silly little toys and no lame fun-for-all-the-family jokes. Which frankly is the best part for most of us. Boo!

On the upside – no Turkey or cranberry sauce, both of which are derivative of American tradition anyhow. Instead, the French appear to opt for either Goose (which is what we traditionally ate in Britain until we discovered Turkey was a lot bigger and cheaper) or “Chapon”.

Now look up “Chapon” in a French-English dictionary – and you’ll find that the equivalent noun in English is “Capon”. If you’re still in the dark this might be becuase it is a word that is almost extinct now thanks to the fact that ‘caponisation’ is banned in the UK.

But the fact is the free-range self-basting beast we bought tasted a good deal better than any Turkey could ever hope to – and did so without being smeared with red New England fruits.

What’s a Capon? Well, it’s a big castrated cock … I’ll stop there shall I?