Planning the feast ahead is always part of the pleasure. Imagining the day it will come together with all its different courses and tastes; the festive table dressed and set with the best china.
The key to preparing holiday meals, I think, is to take the pleasure it offers. If you feel like a kitchen slave, it not only robs you of enjoyment but I swear it is somehow reflected in the flavour of the meal. So I try to pace myself and not overdo, and to be in the present when I prepare the food.
Christmases past were drifting into my present as I was preparing this year's meal. My grandmother's busywork in the kitchen, the long day's preparation and the hectic burst when everything was plated, served and devoured. Usually it was my job to set the table and do the dishes. Our big family crowded around the table - ten of us - my grandparents, parents, and 6 brothers and sisters.
The older we got, the bigger we got, and it was hard to fit us all around the table, let alone the spouses and children. Such a crowded house. For almost two decades now, my birth family usually gets together well after December 25th.
Happily, my brother Dave's family and my family get together to feast on Christmas Day. The kids get bigger each year.
It occurs to me now that we should have been taking photos to mark the passage of time, but we've were too busy enjoying each others company. Next year a portrait is in order.
This year our nephew Ryan was able to join us and round out the table so we made eight.
After dinner the "kids" spent time together while "the grown-ups" talked around the tree. I mark this in quotes because the generations are no static thing. My son is a young man now; my brother and I will be, in part, children together forever...
The Christmas Menu was a meal rich with colour and flavour. Truly, the best thing was the present company!
- Baked Brie topped with sugared almonds, served with fresh figs
- Salad of young greens, pomegranate, sugar mandarins, and brillo cheese drizzled with aged balsalmic
- Prime Rib & Port Gravy
- Apple and stilton bread pudding
- Brussell sprouts, roasted chestnuts & bacon
- Glazed carrots
- Cake Opera treats
- Tuxedo cake