Christmas dining 2011 has now been put to bed, and I singlehandedly reinforced the great lengths a mother will go to for her children. I will stop at nothing to preserve my offspring’s feelings of self-esteem and confidence. So, now that my children are getting some of their own culinary experience and interest, I simply didn’t want to dazzle them tooooo much with my amazing kitchen and cooking skills, and run the risk of leaving them feeling like they could never measure up. I don’t want them to feel intimidated when the official Christmas duty kitchen torch is passed and they are responsible for preparing all the special festive fixins. Consequently for our holiday dining I did things like this:
- Put out a last minute call to daughter Christmas Eve to pick up water chestnuts for Spinach Dip. Replied confidently and firmly in the negative to her inquiry as to whether or not we needed anything else. All was good until we went to make said Spinach dip and I had no — nor had it even once occurred to me to think about getting …. Spinach.
- Pre-made the sweet roll dough on Christmas Eve for our Christmas breakfast sticky buns, and instead of “lukewarm” as instructed, added milk cold enough to evidently deactivate the yeast, consequently waking Christmas morning to completely flat plasticene like dough instead of gently risen puffy beginnings of deliciousness.
- Undaunted I started over, remaking the dough and forming the little individual buns. Also pulled out a little known “expert” trick of placing the buns in their greased pan on top of another pan filled with warm water, so that buns would rise faster. They rose quickly and efficiently and doubled in size, at which point I knocked the pan sideways so that all the gently risen buns slid into the warm water, and bobbed around like cinnamon buoys in a lake.
- Cleverly bought a much bigger turkey than in past years, and put it into the oven later in the day than ever before. As we played a board game and smelled the delicious turkey cooking, we then heard a small explosion in the oven. We were baffled upon examination – there were thin shards of glass on the turkey breast, but none of the glass casserole dishes appeared to have broken. In an obvious attempt to make me look like I’m losing my mind (possibly brought on in part to the fact that I lost one of his presents that I bought him 2 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS and hid, and at the time of this writing has still not been located); hubby asked if I might have inadvertently inserted a wine glass into the turkey, because that’s what the glass pieces resembled. I was justifiably outraged, but just then with tensions rising, the mystery was solved. It was the meat thermometer that exploded. Picked shards of glass off the turkey skin and after much arm twisting I reluctantly agreed not to use any of the drippings for gravy, for fear of glass shavings. My arguments in favour of roughage fell on deaf ears.
5. Then inserted the new meat thermometer that I had received in my stocking. It’s digital and very high tech, and we anxiously waited for it to announce that the required internal temperature had been achieved. This much anticipated declaration was not made until approximately 10:00pm. As happy hour extended well into the early evening, I slurredly protested periodically that the turkey was going to look like the National Lampoon one, but dammit, I’m goal oriented and metrics driven, and we had committed to this new piece of technology and we were going to see it through to a 180° reading, come hell or high water. I was not far from wrong, National Lampoon wise, but on the upside, if you make people wait long enough for dinner they are still extremely complimentary and effusive with praise about the meal.
Now, everything has gone according to plan and the bar is set quite low, and in future years when one of the kids hosts, even if they invite us over and have us pick up Swiss Chalet on the way, as long as they spring for the festive meal special, they will have one upped me and can feel like the winner of one of those reality cooking shows.
I also let them win at board games.