This year we did things a bit differently and had our annual cook-off on Christmas Day. It seemed like a good idea to have it on The Day when I first thought of it weeks ahead of time. Plus I had that brilliant plan to organize it using Facebook. However, there were a few things I hadn't taken into consideration. Important things such as we are a family where the procrastinators outnumber the organizers, and that having the meal on Christmas meant it was vital that every ingredient needed for every dish was bought ahead of the day itself. There would be no possibility of a quick trip or five to the grocery store to pick up forgotten items!
I will spare you the grim details of the shopping trip that resulted from this little oversight. It can best be summed up by the following two stories. I had already scoured the shops for the two ducks Diana needed for her roast duck recipe. I found one lone duck the week before, and had since gone to three other stores but had come away empty-handed. Then, the day before the mother of all shopping trips, I managed to find one more lone duck in the store I had found the first one in. I felt so smart when I plopped that bird into my basket!
So the next day I was cruising down the aisle of that same store feeling all smug and proud of myself as I glanced over at the frozen section. Right up until the moment my eyes lit on the pile of ducks stacked to the top of the freezer, threatening to spill over into the section designated for the geese. I know it is unreasonable, and it wasn't like I was wishing a duck shortage on anybody else who needed one for their Christmas dinner, but when I saw all those ducks I was sort of mad. What had just the day before appeared to be an endangered species now looked as common as a chicken.
The next problem was I ran out out of shopping endurance before I ran out of shopping. I was so fried that when I entered that last store and saw oyster mushrooms at half the price I had just paid at the second-to-last store I thought I might weep. Then, in a moment that made everything else about that morning look pretty darn good in comparison, the cashier smiled, looked me in the eyes, and asked me if I would like the senior's discount. Which would have been a lot less insulting if their senior discount kicked in at 55 instead of 60.
It turned out procuring the duck was only the beginning of the work involved in getting it ready for Christmas dinner. Diana started two days ahead of the meal by cutting the backbones out of the birds, then salting them and letting them chill in our garage.
Every time I went into the kitchen people were chopping up something. Thankfully that didn't include any fingers!
In the end those birds turned out to be worth all the work that went into them. They were amazing! In addition to the duck we had Greek meatballs with tzatziki, mushroom soup, grape tomato and bocconcini salad, cornbread and oyster mushroom stuffing, roasted vegetables and stuffed peppers.
Of course, all that cooking meant there was a huge stack of dishes to do.
We did manage to do things other than cook and eat, although I must admit that does seem to be what we do best. There was a hike on the trail, games of crokinole and Spell Tower, a jigsaw puzzle completed, books read, naps in front of the fire, and, of course, lots of knitting.
Now I will leave you with a promise and a warning. My next post will be much shorter, and whatever you do, DO NOT download that Spell Tower Game. In fact, it might be safer to not even click on the link.