Christmas Day 2007 will forever be referred to as “The Day the Gravy Exploded”, joining the ranks with such other exciting and memorable days as “The Year The Cat Stepped in the Stuffing” and “The One Where We Got Five Feet of Snow on Christmas Eve and Lisa’s Big Christmas Present (a waterbed!) Was Across The Street In The Neighbors Garage.” *
*This was back in the late 70’s when a waterbed was a cool gift. (There was a sort of scavenger hunt involved — sadly, not quite as magical when you have to shovel for 7 1/2 hours to get to the grand prize.)
In my family, the disasters are always more fun than the picture-perfect Christmases. We’ll all be gathered in the kitchen, drinking, and someone will make a crack about how the the turkey was nearly set on fire back in 1974, or how my mother, in her effort to be supportive to her newly-vegetarian sister had the crazy idea of serving a quiche on Christmas Eve, rather than our traditional ham with cherry sauce. We’ve lovingly tortured her on that one for years.
The screw-ups and disasters are always met with laughter and occasionally, a bit of culinary triage. Any mishap is met with a top-notch disaster recovery team of relatives who can smooth the lumps out of gravy, make a turkey with crispy wingtips look like something Martha would envy, or whip out an emergency pie crust in 45 seconds flat. (Old Crisco, don’t ask.)
And while we may giggle about near-disasters behind the stove, the feast that makes it to the table usually looks pretty fabulous and tastes even better. And no one would ever be any wiser.
In our family, what happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen.
From the year mom and I whipped our cream into butter, to the year the weird pineapple-avacado-lime jello with pistachio ice cream turned into a scary green soup, to the year the fan belt broke on the car on the way to Christmas dinner at Grandma Vernie’s house. In the middle of the desert. With 7 people in the car.
Christmas Present. Christmas Past. Christmas Imperfect. I love them all.