Monday, November 28, 2011

Afterglow

There's a lovely aura in our home right now.  Little Cuter and SIR have landed safely, picked up the dog, and decorated their apartment for the holiday season. Big Cuter and TBG are on the couch, snuggled under blankets, watching football and sharing esoterica.  I've baked the first batch of holiday brownies and am listening to the printer creating the labels as I type to you.  Life is good.

We were quiet and peaceful for the holiday this year.  Usually, I am the home for the otherwise uninvited; my turkey is always big enough and we've yet to finish a side dish.  But this year we kept it simple.  I picked up G'ma at the pod-castle at 2-ish.  When she asked if she had to wear fancy clothes I just laughed; sweats were the order of the day. 

There's nothing I like more in the kitchen than to watch my daughter work her magic.  Pepper Jack cheese is cut into many, equally sized squares.  Potatoes are cut into cubes, also equally sized.  Asparagus is seasoned, rolls are heated, cobbler is cobbled, and nothing is burnt.

For the first time in memory I did not burn the rolls.

The jello mold doesn't gel if I use low-fat Cool Whip.  I'll have to remember that for next year.  Aside from that, everything was perfect.  My gravy had no lumps and, though I thought it was too salty, the boys all agreed that it was perfect.  Who am I to argue?

I was smarter this year, at least that's how I'm casting it.  In reality, I forgot to order the turkey and Sunflower Market had no more free-range birds to sell me when my pouting face and I showed ourselves at the meat counter on Tuesday. The largest pre-packaged bird in the meat case was 12 pounds; our usual turkey tips the scales somewhere in the 20's.  I was anxious for a moment, then picked up a turkey breast, too.

I cooked the breast first thing in the morning and saved it for left-overs.  The house had that "good food is coming" smell all day, even thought the "real bird" didn't go int the oven til noon.  SIR and I enjoyed the drumsticks and the white meat made everyone else very happy.  There was enough for sandwiches, plates with mayo and stuffing, and rarebit on Friday night.

Now, the rarebit is another story entirely.  I've been making it from scratch since Stouffer's stopped shipping it to my supermarkets.  The recipe is more complex than I usually undertake, bu t I prepare everything in advance and hope for the best.  The best is usually soupy... tasty, but too thin.  This year I took my time and stirred everything just a little bit longer.  The result was the perfect consistency..... until it began to cool.  A slow pour turned into a sluggish ooze which morphed into a gelatinous sludge as the meal progressed.  Was it grout?  Was it spackle?  It was tasty although thick.... ok, nearly-brick-like. 

Next year I'm putting it in the fondue pot with a sterno underneath. 

Little Cuter's only culinary failures have been pies.  We are masters at making pie soup.  Our crusts are delicious, but the contents never transform themselves into a fork-able bite.  This year she skipped the whole thing and went straight to a cobbler.  Making her own dough was much simpler than she'd imagined it would be.  The results were spectacular.  I've had some every night as a bed-time snack.  The last bowlful is in the 'fridge, waiting as a reward when I finish this post.

With only grown-ups at the table, and family to boot, cleaning up was a cinch.  There were tall people to replace the fancy serving dishes on the high cabinet shelves. There were volunteers to empty the ever full garbage can whenever I called for help.  I was plied with drinks, alcoholic and sparkling and tasty, as I watched Little Cuter load the dishwasher.

It wasn't that long ago that I told G'ma to sit and let me do the dishes.  Now she and I were the watchers.  We didn't mind at all.

And now it's Sunday night and Tim Tebow has won again and the boys are still on the couch and I've made dinner and done laundry and put the pointsettias in fancier pots.  The mailing labels are affixed to the PriorityMail boxes and I've got a plan for the morning.

It's time to treat myself to that cobbler and watch the holiday season unfold.

After all, I'm done with my shopping.

1 comment:

  1. I giggled at your description of pumpkin pie. That is the one dessert that I have mastered... until this year. I usually make enough pies for an army because the kids like to take a whole pie home. This year I decided to make only 3. Well either I was sooooo tired from Black Friday Shopping with Melisa (that is another story) or I was paying too much attention to the Hawkeyes getting beat by the Cornhuskers, but I forgot to add sugar to the third pie!

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