A New Holiday Tradition

I had no plans for Christmas this year. Vision issues and my diabetic puppy make travel difficult. Dinner with Andy has been the extent of my holiday celebrations for more than a decade. This year would be different.

I decided to cook rib roast for my Christmas dinner. It’s not the kind of thing one cooks for a solo meal. I called my great friends T & J and invited them to dinner on whatever day best suited them and was pleasanlty suprised when they suggested Christmas Day.

The table I never use in my eat-in kitchen theoretically seats six. It’s barely visible beneath potted plants, piles of stuff for class, and visual reminders of things I need to do. Dog food, the sweats I wear to walk the dog, and my briefcase fill the chairs.

Finding other places for everything required significant pile-shifting all over the house. The only thing left were seven thriving orchids I’d left outside for the summer to die. They ended up on the washer and dryer for Christmas.

Google and I put the menu together. My beautifully-prepared roast would be accompanied by homemade horseradish sauce, a turnip casserole, creamed peas with mushrooms, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and cauliflower, and storebought rolls and pecan pie.

I couldn’t have been more prepared. I printed recipes for each dish, listed all the ingredients, and went to the store. Figuring out when everything had to be done to serve dinner at 2:30 was complicated. A rigid time scheulde guaranteed my success.

Operation Christmas Dinner was launched at precisely 8:30 Christmas morning. I haven’t worked so hard in years. Andy did most the cooking, especially when guests were involved. What was I thinking?

All I did for hours was chop, measure, mix, wash dishes, and repeat in a kitchen that simply wasn’t built for the job. Gas station bathrooms have more counter space. When time came for the 45-minute nap I’d scheduled, I set an alarm and fell into bed exhausted!

No sooner had my head hit the pillow when my phone rang. It was my niece and nephew calling to wish me a Merry Christmas — on Facetime. Toodles slept through the entire call.

The nap did more harm than good. I didn’t factor in the delay to get back to full speed. By the time the coffee kicked in, I was fifteen minutes behind schedule.

My guests arrived to find me twirling around the kitchen like some kind of whirling dervish to wrap things up. By 2:45, dinner was ready.

Everything turned out pretty good. The turnip casserole was a favorite. The Brussels Sprouts needed something — maybe a touch of maple syrup. The creamed peas were delicious. Nobody said anything, but the meat was more than a little chewy and stringy. I’ll order USDA Prime next time.

All in all, my holiday dinner was a success. In fact, we had such a ice time, we decided to do it again next year. As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Happy New Year!