Saturday, December 27, 2014

Family Christmas Dinner

 ... the dinner is finished ...
the children have gone home
...the adults pull out the treats ...
we bring on the beverages of our choice
... we talk long into the night hours ...
We have an invitation to go out on Christmas Day – we are going to Miranda’s, so we celebrated our own Christmas on the 24th.

 I was wild with happiness in the kitchen, for the point of the day seemed to be to make every dish into ‘the best ever’.

The previous day I made three loaves of Hutterite sized bread for the stuffing-- recipe says that you must have 1 1/12 pounds of good quality bread. 

I went to the trouble to weigh it.  One Hutterite sized loaf of white bread = 2 pounds.

 Pouria, who masterminded the Xmas Dinner ...
When it was cool, I cut it up and dried it in the oven so the aroma was there again in the house – that warm comforting smell that makes me think all is right in the world.

I confess, I am always tempted to bring on the Stove Top Stuffing but Pouria was going to so much work with the turkey that there was shame in my desire to make this “the easiest supper” ever instead of the best one.

The turkey begin thawing 2 days before the brining, -- in a 6% salt solution into which oranges and lemons had been dropped. “I really think a 4% solution is enough,” said Pouria. I grabbed my spoon to have a taste of the brine – to know how much salt that it. The answer? Stronger than I want to gargle with.

The next day the bird was patted dry, the skin lifted and the flesh rubbed with whipped butter and herbs. Pouria tied a cooling rack on top of the roast by securing it to the handles with twine. The turkey sat on top of that roaster, the juices dropping down into it, the heat perfectly circulating around all sides of it – this turkey was roasting, not stewing. The neck, gizzard and liver sat in the bottom of the pan, creating a rich broth for the gravy. Actually, I think this turkey was missing a heart. Pouria was looking for it. Somewhere in the world, someone must have a turkey with 2 hearts.
... Amir and Michael discussing the importance of life ...

Hard for me not to feel humbled when I see someone working in the kitchen as hard as Pouria works. He takes on his cooking projects as though they are honours theses – who wouldn’t want to stand by and watch.

He was doing the major part of the food preparation. I took on the job of the minor job of cooking whole carrots, first steaming them to strengthen the cells and then cooking them for 45 minutes in the 12 inch frying pan. The book said that this style of carrot is popular in restaurants now and a pine nut / parsley / shallot / fig balsamic relish was the garnish.

The fig balsamic vinegar is good enough to drink on its own. Who needs the carrots?  Just go straight to the garnish.

Richard sent over some deer sausage from the Gourmart Butcher in Bowness for his contribution to the meal. We put it on the cheese plate. The sausage is so delicious that the dinner time conversation turned at one point to “how are we going to get more wild meat”, the men at the table finding out how to take the course that gives them government ID so that they can get hunting licenses and buy the appropriate equipment. I just couldn’t type guns there but I just should have said it outright.

Alice and Michael joined us when the meal was ready.

 Richard warned me that Michael can’t really sit for 10 minutes, even if it is to eat and Alice has even a shorter shelf life.

 They came downstairs to see Kelvin before the meal began and Michael found the candy tray – specifically the Swiss Delice Chocolate where each piece is individually wrapped.

 I could not tell if the joy was in peeling each paper back until he found the chocolate, or in popping it in his mouth.

... the food looks better across the counter ...
He brought a handful of chocolate to the table when the meal began. Everyone needs a bowl of chocolate as part of their condiments.

We had a wonderful meal – spice in the mashed potatoes, wine in the gravy and the stuffing had been in the slow cooker for 8 hours and was so moist and delicious. Yes. The best Christmas ever.

Around the table was Sahar, Amir, Reza, Pouria, Kelvin Jr., Kelvin Senior, Miranda, Richard, Michael, Alice Margaret and me. I have been remembering Lorraine Wight saying, “Family is who they say they are”, so I am longing for a picture of the 6 of us who live in this house.

“I can’t believe we used to have fifteen at this table sometimes,” Richard said. “Eleven of us seems crowded now.”

“Yes,” said, Kelve, “and we used to get the gifts we wanted from Santa, long after we didn’t believe in him anymore.”

“And there were lots of presents. That they were all from the dollar store, or that they were jars of hand cream or hair shampoo didn’t matter,” laughed Richard.

... white meat on one tray ... dark on the other
“I want to come to your house and watch the kids with Santa in the morning.” That was my wish.

“Too late,” said Richard. “Santa came on the solstice to our house, bringing lots of educational toys. Tomorrow there will be other toys, coming from grandparents and it just seemed best to us to spread the joy out over the whole week.” I guess I will have to pay more attention to the solstice next year and get over to their house on my own.

Wyona called at 6:30 and said, “Have you eaten yet. If not, all of you come over. We have so much food and all of us are topped up.” Yes. An overwhelming array of wonderful foods in many homes in the next few days. God bless everyone who shares their largesse.


1 comment:

  1. So much fabulous food and happiness in so many homes.