Mrs Fringe Remembers

empty platter

empty platter (Photo credit: Julep67)

a time when holidays and the work that went with them were fun.  I can’t pinpoint when it stopped, but it has.  I cook. I used to cook more frequently, more elaborately, and for more people than I do now.  I used to love to cook, challenge myself with new ingredients and recipes, but now, not so much. I still enjoy it sometimes, still like to try new recipes, but the holidays?  Every year I try to cut back a dish or two and the prep involved, but the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be. The dicing, sauteing, braising and sifting that used to give me a thrill is now just work. The hunt for the perfect ingredients necessitating hitting six grocery stores isn’t the treasure hunt it once was.

I could blame the kids and Husband, “I spoiled them.” It’s true, they’re used to good food, they’re used to fresh ingredients and most everything cooked from scratch. But the truth is their finicky palates aren’t a mystery, I’m the same way. If it’s my holiday too, which it is, and if I’m doing the work, which I am, then I want to enjoy the meal(s). I couldn’t possibly cook any fewer items than I’m planning for the dinners if I don’t want anyone to be hungry.

Christmas Eve Dinner: Baked Ziti (making the sauce right now), Horseradish Crusted Roast Beef, Spinach, Pear, and Parmesan Salad, Pumpkin Torte for dessert.

Christmas Brunch: Vanilla Maple French Toast, Cheesy Baked Grits, Asst breakfast meats, fake and real.

Christmas Dinner: Ham, Cauliflower roasted with Olives, Capers, and Pignolis, Some kind of mashed potatoes, not sure which kind, and a Rice Pudding Pear Tart.

It took until late this morning for me to decide what I’m going to cook this year. Man Child went with me to one grocery store, Nerd Child went with me to another, and I sent Man Child without me to the third. Unfortunately, he just texted to tell me they have no hams, spiral sliced or not.  Yes, it’s true! I stopped making the fresh ham from scratch a few years ago, and buy the ones that are precooked, just need to be heated. Wrestling with that big leg… the soaking, the skinning, the crying, I gave up.

I used to make dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies, at least 7 different types each year, in the week leading up to Christmas.

Molasses comic

Molasses comic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They were math, language arts, history, and science lessons for the kids. They were an art, a pleasure, an excellent gift for people when you want to gift something personal and/or inexpensive. I stopped doing that when we moved into this apartment, the kitchen is impossibly small. This didn’t include the 2 or 3 cakes and/or pies I would make. Two years ago, Man Child asked for my cookie recipes so he could make them with his friends at his boarding school.  Sure.  It was actually a surprise for me, he came home with the cookies, having used the kitchen of one of his teachers. Absolutely one of the top 5 gifts I’ve ever received. –Speaking of fabulous gifts, one of my friends sent me a great paring knife!  A completely unexpected pleasure–both the knife and realizing he reads Mrs Fringe.

Who does the cooking for your holiday celebrations? Are you a fellow lunatic who won’t eat bottled salad dressing?

We spend Christmas Day at home now, I prep brunch the night before, after the stuff from Christmas Eve dinner is cleaned up, in between wrapping gifts and searching for the tripod to set up the video camera. It makes for a nice Christmas morning, I wake up and make coffee, shove the casserole dishes in the oven, and brunch cooks while we have fun opening presents, taking bad pictures, and knocking over the tripod.

So, what gives? I still love the idea of Christmas, the magic reflected on Flower Child’s face when she comes into the living room, watching the kids open their gifts, seeing the pleasure on Husband’s face as he watches them, seeing the excitement on their faces when he and I unwrap our own presents, the silliness of eating chocolate at 7 in the morning. Brunch is an open invitation and informal, I always make a lot so we usually have at least a couple of friends or relatives stop by, feels good.

Maybe I’m just a cranky old lady, and need to start making reservations for dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Dennys-Restaurant 12

Dennys-Restaurant 12 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

17 comments

  1. We quit making the classics on Christmas years ago – now we simply have a favorite meal for dinner – breakfast is another story it’s huge. My brother fixes it every year. Best breakfast I’ll have all year. Merry Christmas Mrs Fringe!

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  2. Goodness I’m exhausted just reading about you cooking exploits. Thank goodness I’ve never enjoyed cooking very much. Thus it’s the one area of my life I don’t let the clan (or myself) down too much. No heady heights to fall from.

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    1. lol, I’ve known people who enjoyed cooking, and people who haven’t, but I’ve never met anyone who was glad they don’t! 😀 You have a point though, I may need to start developing my tastes…
      Thank you for commenting, and Happy Holidays!

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  3. I think you are just in a different stage of life, it will probably ebb and flow. maybe the smallness of the kitchen is getting to you, maybe you just feel a bit put upon.
    I have noticed in myself a shift to thinking of myself a bit more, I think it’s a mid life thing. less girly hormones making us the constant people pleasers and keepers of the peace.
    We both cook Christmas eve, a honey glazed gammon and simple sides. Chrsitmas day is Dan, he buys in all the food and plans the meals. a big chicken and lots of yummy sides but still quite simple. then we move to cold meats and warm bream, lots of intetesting bits like yummy cheese, crackers and pork pies for evening meals and lunches topping the meats up now and then with a beef dinner or another chicken, another gammon new years eve. all deserts are shop bought, lots of deserts are just plates of yummy chocs of which we buy too many. 🙂
    Sounds to me like you are doing a fabby job 🙂

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    1. I think you’re right, I’m in the I-need-someone-else-to-cook-for-me stage. 😉
      Love that your hubby shares the cooking with you, nice! Your Christmas day sounds absolutely lovely, btw advent and the day itself, your children will always feel a rush of love when they think of the holidays ❤

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  4. Sad to read that something once pleasurable has become work, but certainly can see how it can with all you have on your plate. I still try to keep the Family traditions alive- Years ago Grandmother spent a Saturday afternoon teaching my Brother and I to make pierogi. Donna helps putting them together and I enjoy our time together making them. Brother usually does the rest of the Christmas Eve spread ( fish, pastas and awesome seafood stew etc… ) Christmas Day is a turkey- green bean casserole and assorted other simple sides and left over pierogi.

    A very Merry Christmas to you and yours Mrs. F. – and to your readers as well!

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