Tonight there were twenty-four people here for an annual holiday dinner at our house. I started my day by doing a handful of cooking chores before we went to hear running son speak in church, which was lovely--hilarious, for one thing, and moving also. Then, we came back home and begin the cooking in earnest.
The menu was a fleshed-out version of running son's suggestion/request, which I granted because, well, he won't be here for the next two years (perhaps it is tedious to keep hitting this theme, but it's what is on my mind and in my dreams, as well as in my entertaining and menus, apparently). He texted it to me a couple of weeks ago: "for the family dinner, what about beef, chicken, veggie enchiladas, mexi rice, corn, chips and salsa?" Last night, he texted a stipulation that the "mexi rice" be "with no chunks."
Oh what alien chunks await thee, running son, in Singapore!
Be that as may be, in all, we had the above items, elaborated and augmented by me, plus a salad that had mint, cilantro, finely shredded scallions, avocado and a bunch of greens, in a lime vinaigrette. We also had a fruit salad (a classic combination at my house--pineapple, oranges, kiwis) and for dessert, a Texas sheet cake enhanced with chili, cinnamon, and a little coffee, along with vanilla ice cream. There was supposed to be cinnamon ice cream, but the canister for my ice cream maker didn't feel like freezing solid, due to the extreme over-ratedness of the Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer combo that this house came with. Big and overbearing, it is the Escalade of refrigerators. Annoying and not particularly efficient. Good I had back-up ice cream, by design. I am beginning to develop a rather passionate hatred for that refrigerator.
Even without the homemade ice cream, we all had a swell time. It was a bunch of our kids, spouses, and grandkids, as well as the historian's sister, her husband, and their kids and spouses and grandkids. This year, we missed the historian's Seattle daughter and her partner, plus my soccer coach son. Over the years, this party has proven to be one of the occasions that argues for life sometimes turning out better than you had a right to expect--that you can wring joy out of great difficulty. I love to plan and cook these dinners. We all work together--the historian always cleans and straightens, I cook, and this year, college daughter was a great help to me in the kitchen and elsewhere. Then, when it's over, the historian lets me rehash the culinary and other high points endlessly, because he's a good person.
Now, it's time to read the paper, possibly watch television, and admire the dogs in repose.