Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Family Christmas

I was looking through my photos to see what I could delete off my work laptop in the twenty seconds of free time I found after a meeting, and realized that- goodness!- I had never posted about my family's Christmas!

For crying out loud, how could I forget such a thing??

Our beloved old dog. She's so cute, even though she's ancient. I love this dog dearly, and I don't like dogs- there was an incident when I was a child, when a neighbor's dog chased me all the way up and down our cul-de-sac. I've never forgotten that dog (his name was Tiger), and I never knew I could love a dog until I met our darling Ginger.

One part of our Christmas lunch? Hot links. Because we're a strange, strange family. My dad really adores hot links, and he voted to have these instead of ham for Christmas. (He doesn't like turkey, never will.) An interesting aside- my dad's favorite protein is probably chicken. He didn't realize until this year that chicken, like turkey, has dark and white meat! Silly dad.

That foil-wrapped package next to the hot links on the grill contained lovely onions. I cut them into thin wedges, leaving the root ends attached so they wouldn't fall completely apart. My sister wrapped them in foil along with some cut-up butter, and they got tossed on the grill. We had a hazy plan of making bangers and mash for my dad and cousin the next day, but I don't think that happened.

My sister's jalapeno poppers, the runaway hit of Thanksgiving, made another appearance for Christmas. My dad can eat about half a platter, and my cousin is most definitely capable of eating the entire other half. Those pigs!

We went super simple for the sides- green beans and corn. They were both really good. I think we were so tired from Thanksgiving and the constant eating that we wanted easy, clean food for Christmas. The corn, especially, was really delicious. We don't eat corn with butter, so good corn is essential.

Green beans. I prefer the thicker green beans to the thinner haricot verts, which seem to wilt very quickly. I love green beans, my family loves green beans, and we only had a very tiny bit leftover for the next day. No matter how many beans we buy, we eat nearly all of them during the first meal.

The bird, with hot links nestled up to him. He was a delicious bird, though a bit pale. The gravy was also outstanding- my cousin swooned. Okay, he didn't swoon, but he did love the gravy. If he was a girl, he would have swooned.

Ah, jeon. A favorite of everyone! My mother, bless her, protests every single year. She doesn't want to make jeon. What if she just doesn't make jeon? What if we just eat rice? (RICE, I ask you! RICE?!) What if we just skip the jeon entirely? My sister and I bully her into making jeon every year, for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thank goodness children are still capable of guilting their parents into doing things!

My mother makes centerpieces every year (or almost almost year) for some of our family friends. This one was a small one that we had at home, just for us. It smelled gorgeous and was very festive, in its green and red glory.

Table for five. My word, we're oinkers! My dad and cousin had white zinfandel, my mother, sister and I opted for sparkling grape juice. I know, we're boring. I worked on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, there was no way I wanted any trace of hangover anytime around Christmas.

I forgot to take a picture of the gravy in its dish, so I took a picture of the gravy happily greeting mashed potatoes and turkey. A perfect trio, if you ask me.

We're a family of very efficient cleaners. We take forever to eat, because we're talking and yammering and laughing and telling stories and making fun of each other, but once we're done eating? That table is cleared and leftovers are put into containers pronto. Especially with the lure of dessert (apple and pumpkin pie) and coffee, my mother, sister, and I can clean off the table and entire kitchen in the blink of an eye.

While I did the dishes and my sister scooped food into containers, my mother picked apart the turkey. We have a little old puppy, after all, that gets all the fat off the meat that our family eats. My mom can pick a bird faster than I can wash dishes. She got the wishbone out, which my sister and cousin pulled apart. He didn't know of the wishbone tradition, so it was nice that we were able to introduce him to an archaic and useless piece of Americana.

My cousin seemed to enjoy his Korean-American Christmas experience, all in all. He's off in New York and I haven't spoken to him since the first of the year, when he called to tell me that he'd landed safely, but I'm sure he's having a grand ol' time.

I discovered that when my father is sated with wine and good food, he is quite the crooner. I don't know why we waited so long to buy him a guitar- he used to have one years and years ago, and I distinctly remember it- but I am so glad he has one now.

Makes me wish it was Christmas all over again, rather than a stiflingly hot January (78 degrees today, what is going on??), most of which I will be spending in my office, in a car en route to Santa Maria, or working at home.

It was a mere week and a half ago, but it feels like it's been years.

Can't wait for next Christmas!