Friday, December 25, 2009

to meat -- or not to meat

That is the question.

In some homes at Christmas -- but not ours.

Hamlet need not mount the ramparts of Elsinore to ponder the merits of Christmas main courses. We will be having meat.

When I cook Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, there will be no fowl play. No turkey. No goose. No duck. Not even the lowly pollo.

At my house, it will be red and artery-clogging. Either lamb, in its leg or rack incarnation, or prime rib. My post-modern streak extends even to dining.

When I decided to fly to Oregon for Christmas, I had no idea what would await me for dinner. All I knew is that we would be having dinner at my brother's house. His wife is a very good cook -- as is my brother -- and my 17-year old niece. My niece makes the best hollandaise sauce I have tasted.

On Christmas morning I awoke to find everyone as busy as taxi cab drivers in Mexico City. That was when I saw the guest of honor sitting on the kitchen island: a splendid prime rib roast awaiting its makeup for the oven.

A bit of pan searing on both ends. A generous piercing of garlic. A layer of rock salt (nearly as thick as the alluvial flow inside my old laptop). And rosemary. Lots of fresh rosemary.

And it was ready for its closeup.

We did not eat until late that evening. But the roast, green beans, cheesy potatoes, and what has become a family traditional cabernet au jus, topped off a great evening.

The food was only a tool, however. There is nothing original in acknowledging that Christmas dinners are about family relationships. And I would not trade my family for another.

We have as many issues as any family. But the greatest gift I received from my parents is learning not to take myself seriously -- and not to take life's circumstances seriously. A friend recently told me that watching our family is like watching a sitcom. I took it as a compliment.

I started to say I feel as if I enter a safe fortress. But we are not a wall people.

More accurately, I feel as if we are nomads crossing the steppes of Europe. Riding free, but together. Laughing at what life serves up to us.

What could better symbolize the joy of Christmas?

I trust that each of you had a Christmas every bit as merry.


Anonymous said...

Did you happen to note how much like a compact turkey your roast looks from your angle of shot?

With a little imagination one can see the thigh, leg, and wing.

A N Moose

Steve Cotton said...

ANM -- I didn't, but you are correct. That would mean a fowl managed to slip onto the Christmas table.