Posted by: Aunt Magaidh | December 21, 2010

Christmas is coming, it’s time to plan dinner

Right.  Christmas in 4 days.  And I have been planning the family festivities while getting used to my new job, shaking off the rust, and adjusting to different rituals of laundry and grocery shopping.

But I have to get ready for December 25th!  I can see it now…

It’ll start with making very strong coffee for the early morning visit from my dad, down visiting his wife’s family in a nearby town.  I don’t usually make coffee, but when I do, it’s pretty muddy.  I mean, why bother otherwise? The coffee should be able to slap sleepiness from the eyes that droop from late night secretive wrapping adventures and rouse the slugs still in bed.  This is the way we get everyone up for the morning of opening packages and making little mountains of hoarded treasure and decorating the cat.

Then about 7 am I’ll start making aebleskievers.  They are Scandanavian pancake balls that have become a beloved tradition in our family.  I’ll beat the egg whites til they are stiff, then fold them into the batter rich with the flavors of butter and cardamom and sugar.  I will coat the cast iron aebleskiever pan with melted butter and turn the balls with a skewer. The finished balls will be piled onto a platter and put in a warm oven until they are put to the table with powdered sugar, lemon, and lingonberry jam.  Bacon on the side.   Another pot of coffee will be brewed, and OJ will be put out.  People who have been invited before know that they can just show up that morning for the pancake balls.  There will be no fancy dishes.  There will be pajamas, a sweatshirt, and fuzzy slippers on the cook.  If you show up late, we don’t save any aebleskievers for your tardy arrival.  You snooze, you lose.

Then there will be the small break in the day when the kitchen gets cleaned up and prepared for the evening feast.  We actually scored an invite to an open house where we can have lunch put together by friends. That’s perfect to my mind.  Food that I won’t have cooked.

After that brief excursion, the evening meal will start to be assembled.

This year we are having foods that I remember from childhood, a mixture of American traditional Christmas food and Cantonese cooking.  The ham will be cloved and covered to roast.  The crabs will be cleaned and cracked.  Chinese greens will be washed and cut.  Mushrooms washed.  The sticky rice dressing will be put in the rice cooker to steam.  Daughter will be making poached apples with Renaissance spices.    Guests who come early will be pressed into service, setting the table, figuring out where to put chairs, etc.  People will come bearing salads, wine, bread, and a yule log cake.

We’ll cram a baker’s dozen of family and friends around our table with all the leaves put in it.  And we’ll eat and laugh and tell stories and pass dishes across to each other.  We’ll retreat to the living room after dinner and exchange presents with the evening shift of people and pass around the plates of dessert.  We’ll fight off the coma that threatens to overwhelm us in the presence of warmth and full stomachs and cheered spirits.

But today is Tuesday and I’ve got things to do!  The Xmas decoration boxes and fiber art stash have to move out to the garage.  Which dishes will we use?  How can I chill the beverages when our poor little refrigerator (apartment size)  is already full of veggies and a ham?  Who will come with dishes that need to be assembled while my counters are full already?  Ack.

I’m looking forward to Saturday, but that’s days away yet.  Cross your fingers I get everything done!

Magaidh

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