Gimme a Break

Yes, I relize it’s been awhile since the last posting of anything but “In Other Food News.” But, a gal’s gotta take a break sometimes. I gave myself some vacation time in the last two weeks and I decided to fill my time with family, friends, movies (lots and lots of ’em), rest, relaxation and, of course, good food.

So many wonderful food experiences have happened recently and I’ve gotta share some tasty bits from the end of 2007.

My Thanksgiving Meal:

I was invited to a friend’s house where his roommate Mike was serving as the head chef for his entire Italian family’s feast and my friend was the sous chef.

We started with homemade butternut squash ravioli and worked our way through roasted butternut squash, roasted beets, panettone stuffing, wine, collard greens, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, wine, cranberry scones and a turkey that was fantastic despite the fact that Mike, (a virgin turkey roaster) left the plastic baggied gibblets inside. And more wine. I was very thankful for the meal.

My Christmas Party:

My high school friends and I have an annual Christmas Party. When it first started we went caroling at nursing homes, had Santa visits, wore red and green outfits and made edible arts and crafts. As we’ve gotten older we swapped caroling for beer, Santa visits for babies (my friends are parents now?!?), red and green outfits for “I still look good in my late-twenties” outfits (except for me who rocked the UGLIEST Christmas sweater and red velour pants that I could find to this year’s festivities.) But even as we age, there is one thing we will never, ever swap out… edible arts and crafts.

The edible craft is always my responsibility. We’ve done everything in the past from gingerbread houses, cookies and wreaths to snowmen, trains and trailer parks. It was getting tougher and tougher to come up with a new project, so this year I recycled a past idea… Christmas trees.

Icing, ice cream cones, candies and food coloring were set before everyone and the competition began. Award categories were:

  1. Best Use of Materials
  2. Most Creative
  3. Best Christmas Tree
  4. Best Overall

Final creations included fish, octa-trees, illegal substances and one just had a cone with a cherry tomato next to it… there were, of course, actual trees as well.

We had an official awards ceremony and my best friend’s sister Jesse was awarded best overall for the second year in a row (Congrats Queen Jesse)!

My Christmas Dinner:

My siblings stay at their significant others houses for the actual holiday. So I spent Christmas Eve on the (super comfy) couch at my sister’s house drinking egg nog and helping to prepare for Santa’s arrival. This included putting homing devices outside for Santa, setting out special cookies and milk, sprinkling reindeer food in the yard and writing secret letters for Santa.

I fell asleep just past midnight (after reading my new book about Love, Loss and Food called “Blue Plate Special” (yup, I’m a dork… we should all know this by now) and was woken up at 5 am by my neice and nephew.

After opening gifts for the kids and having a Christmas brunch I headed back to my parent’s house and stopped at the only gas station that was open on Christmas day in Frederick and took advantage of the FREE coffee giveaway.

My Christmas dinner was at my favorite local chinese restaurant Pings where I had the ever traditonal Christmas dinner of Hawaiian sushi roll, while my mom and dad had various tempuras and fried rice. The entire time I had the following scene from Christmas Story playing in my head.

The Final Dish:

Mike- you are an amazing chef. Erin- you host a rockin’ party. Jesse- Congrats AGAIN you creative devil you. Martha- Thanks for my stocking and the couch. Mom and dad- Thanks for Christmas dinner. And Jesus- Thanks for being born.

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