Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pessimism or Realism?

Ahhh…I feel at least a measure of relief. This morning—before eleven o’clock—I managed to bake gingerbread boys and sugar cookies, mix up and bake sausage balls, and add the chocolate and nut layers to the “gourmet apples” that are this year’s teacher’s gifts. Plus, I did almost all the dishes that were involved with these culinary projects (not to mention the caramel-coated crock pot left over from last night).

I feel I can breathe a little bit easier—at least for a couple of days. Christmas is at my house this year—Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas morning with my husband’s, Christmas dinner with both sets! I want to be prepared—I don’t want to be fixing things last minute while everyone else is enjoying their gifts and the lazy blanket of Christmas spirit. I’m gonna do my darnedest, but I’m guessing that something unforeseen will happen…a missing ingredient, a forgotten dish, or a shortage of orange juice. Last year I forgot to set the tables until we were literally ready to eat! (I’m not a table-setter. My husband and I serve ourselves right off the stove).

Personally I think Martha Stewart is sort of old-school. I don’t know anyone who relates to her little brand of perfection. Sure, it would be great if we all had time to decorate with marzipan, but who can’t find something better to do? No one seems to care about garnishing anymore or much about presentation—they have better things to do with their time. And I side with them. Sure a twist of lemon is attractive, but someone has to buy the lemon, someone has to cut it, and that one fleeting moment before it’s moved dismissively to the side just isn’t worth it.

And whatever happened to lingering over dinner? I’m usually the last one to sit down because I’m getting one last thing for one last person. And by the time I do finally get to relax into a chair, family members are actually finished and getting up! They see no problem leaving me in the dining room to eat all by myself!! Sure, they’re doing me the favor of cleaning up, but can’t that wait even a few minutes? It's Christmas, for heaven's sake!

I will never be the hostess of large dinner parties—preparing food for a large number of people and orchestrating everything such that it’s all warm at the same time is much too stressful for me. My husband doesn’t understand it at all. When he inquires over my worries, I give him a run-down of all the what-ifs. He thinks I’m pessimistic. I say I’m realistic. We’ll see what happens this year.

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