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Friday, January 02, 2015

Rx For Christmas Blues

Nothing sadder than taking down the Xmas tree. I mean, around here the skies are grey corduroy most of the time in winter. When the sun comes out, the wind goes zero to the bone, as the great Emily would say.
So we all huddle around the incredible aurorae of Christmas displays of lights, hypnotized by the colors, gazing into the dream world subchromatic of the arboreal branches, where hidden thousands of miniature dioramas and stages are set with lights... cameras... actions!... as the ornaments interplay their ancient devotions, and the Magian gifts flow every second of every day.

It is hard to think that the Founding Fathers of Plymouth were dead set against Christmas, but they were. The Pilgrims waged war against Christmas, mainly because it was a "... twiddler, a dreamer, a silly heart... "

It is a whole lot easier to take down the tree if one had never put it up in the first place.
That's what we did this year.
The early part of December we went to Toronto to help our sister set up her Xmas tree and help plan her funeral. Then we left a week or so later for Maryland to be a scourge and nettles to my daughter's community.
Did not lift a finger. At least, all fingers were left unraised when it came to our own displays. We did rather do a bit of stuff for other folks.

I had the best ham I have ever eaten at my daughter's on Christmas Eve.
I do not particularly like ham.
The feeling is reciprocated.
Ham goes out of its way to be unappetizing. If it is not overcooked and dry, it is slippery and lies in a pool of what appears to be uncoagulated aspic left-over from some horror film in which there is a deep mystic well of dark jello slime in the root cellar.

The ham was phenomenal, and it was not merely the quality of the meat, but it was the method of preparation which was the primary determinant of such quality.
My daughter is a superb cook.
She said that the secret to success lay in a recipe, wherein the ham is gently warmed, then wrapped in swaddling layers of foil and laid within an oven at low temperature. And all this came from some illustrated magazine called Cook's Illustrated !

I know it's hard to believe. I mean, really! Cook's Illustrated?!
I mean, it sounds like a travel agency.

In the film Around The World In Eighty Days, David Niven and Cantinflas were sitting in an open cab, and David Niven says to Fernandel - the cabbie - to take them to "Cook's".
Fernandel acts as if he does not understand, until Cantinflas says "Cook's" with little difference in pronunciation except his own accent, whereupon Fernandel says "Ahhhh! Cooook's !!!"  and drives on.
And they arrive, in due time, at Thos. Cook and Son's Travel Agency, thank you very much.

We also made a pumpkin cheese cake. On Christmas, we went to Old Europe in Georgetown and had Christmas goose (Weihnachtsgans), which I found very nice, and not nearly as gamey tasting as is turkey.
There was a short discuss about whether Scrooge had told the street urchin to purchase a turkey or a goose in A Christmas Carol, and I performed the whole scene to make my point:

"You mean the one [i.e., the goose] that's as big as me, guv'ner?!"

and so on.



knutty knitter said...

We also had ham with an amazing glaze. My sister is also a very good cook :) Best ham for years!

Christmas is a bit of a problem here in the middle of Summer. I have noticed a trend for mid Winter feasts and festivals over the past few years though.

Maybe we can shift Christmas. It's been done before after all...


Montag said...

Yes, a good idea. A moveable feast.
It would only be a six month.
Interesting how it would be worked out.

The Retail sector might act up, though.