Sunday, December 20, 2009
An Open Letter to My Christmas Dinner Menu
Dear potentially delicious dishes,
As you know, I host Christmas dinner each year. And, each year, something goes horribly awry. Being that we (my nuclear family) are usually surrounded by family and friends who truly enjoy the company and the festive atmosphere, the quality of the food is probably not nearly as much of an issue as I am making it out to be. However, I am having nightmares about this year’s culinary catastrophe. Therefore, I implore you to hear me out…
Dear Brussels’ sprouts, why oh WHY do you never turn out as good as you look on the Food Network Holiday specials? Why can you not perform for me as well as you do for Paula Dean, Tyler Florence, and Ina Garten? Do I need more butter? More pork fat? Nutmeg? Do I need to move to the Hamptons, San Francisco, or the South? Tell me what it is that you need and I shall comply. I am here for you with an open and eager heart (and equally eager taste buds)! I only ask that you return the favor… or flavor as the case may be.
To my mother in law’s green bean casserole, I appreciate your elegant spin on a kitchy post-war classic. I really do. But you’re over doing it. You are trying too hard. We love you dearly… at Thanksgiving and Easter. Any more often than that, and you are imposing on our good graces. Some things one should enjoy in small, occasional qualities. You are one of them.
Fruit cake, fruit cake… need I say more? Anything that needs to be soaked in Rum to be palatable is not worth the time and effort it takes to prepare it. I’m sorry. It’s not you… it’s me. Let’s just be friends.
Last but not least, Yorkshire pudding… my long lost love. We are like ships passing in the night! I understand and respect your delicate sensibilities. However, I have not had a good Yorkshire pudding in nearly 20 years. Despite chilling my batter, adjusting the the egg to flour ratio, making high-altitude adjustments, using different pans, you still refuse to rise to the occasion. What have I done to offend you? Am I no longer sexy? Tell me, and I shall rectify the situation! I need you… you complete me.
In closing, I would like to say that although the friends and family with whom I am grateful to share the holidays find humor in these gastronomic malfunctions, I am running out of patience. After 14 hours of cooking, I want a delicious dinner. If they want to laugh, I shall bellydance naked in a Santa hat and bangles as I serve dinner. But for the love of all that is good and holy, let it be a delicious dinner!