Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I'm not used to having company.  I am in particular not used to having more than one or two people at my house at one time.  So Christmas this year was an adventure.  It was also, despite the stress of getting the house ready, planning meals, wondering how to keep people who are used to way too much TV entertained without cable, etc., one of the most enjoyable Christmases I've had.

Granted, it is also only the third time in 21 years that I haven't had to drive to/from NC for Christmas - our folks had followed my sister down there when they retired in 1990.  I sure didn't miss sitting in traffic on US 95.  And being in NC never guaranteed good weather - in fact we got iced in once and last year got up the day after to find snow pounding down and 8 inches already on the ground.  I found it ironic that my new tire chains got their first use in NC rather than on my mountain in WV.  I know that my staying put meant others had to go through all the travel stresses, but I'm not feeling horribly guilty about it.

Dinner was yummy.  I had help - Angie at So Angelina's prepared the cheese manicotti, caponata, and Italian pound cake, and my daughter prepared the citrus green beans and the pumpkin-chai quickbread that we had for breakfast.  I highly recommend the quickbread paired with an apple compote parfait as a special breakfast - layers of homemade apple sauce, vanilla yogurt, and crunchy cinnamon-butter bread crumbs:

Mine wasn't so pretty, but it did the job.

Of course, the subject of Christmases past came up, favorite stories and reminisces, of fun events and of strange or hideous gifts that had to be greeted with faked enthusiasm.  Uncle Harold always gave us the most awful colored fuzzy slippers - I remember a bright lime green pair in particular.  And there was a seriously ugly pink and purple jacket that fortunately didn't fit me and had to be returned.  Not to mention Mom's ugly flower sweater phase.  But our favorite was the year Mom gave my sister and I matching necklaces.  It would have been around 1970, and we were teens and children of the 60s. Our parents were, um, sort of unaware.  My sister and I opened our boxes at the same time.  And immediately looked at each other.  Which was almost a mistake, because it made keeping a straight face really hard.  The necklaces were very pretty - Mom so admired the turquoise inlay over silver.  Buuuut... well, I can't find mine, but this is something like:

Yes, well.  I think we finally told her what it was many years later, to her horrified "I didn't know!".  My sister still has hers and I thought I had kept mine  - they were a source of much laughter for my sister and I.

Everybody had to leave by Monday morning.  And now I have a problem.  I have two new cookbooks...

...and I have to eat up leftovers before I can play with them.


  1. That is a good problem to have! Glad y'all had a great Christmas!

  2. Love the necklaces!

    That all sounds good, and the Irish pub cookbook ought to be good, too. There's a transplanted Irish pub less than three blocks from my house, so I don't have to go far if I start hankerin' for some Guinness stew.

    Which reminds me: do you deliver? :)

  3. @Keads - I'm working hard on alleviating the problem. Also helps that some of it could be packaged up in portions for the freezer so I can have some variety over the next couple weeks.

    @Rev. Paul - The neat thing about the pub cookbook is it seems to be a bit upscale in a lot of the recipes, not too complicated. Today's main meal is going to be glazed beets with hard boiled eggs on toast. And I need your chef daughter to teach me how to do things faster - I'm the slowest chopper in the world, I think. Since I love from scratch fresh foods, that creates a time issue.