Good Morning & Merry Christmas!!
Since I am out of vacation, I am working today but will be heading out at 2 pm for my brothers. I can't really extract much pity from people on the lack of vacation issue... after all, I did spend 3 weeks in France this year!
Tonight we'll have a small gathering at my brother Kevin's in Maple Grove. It'll just be my parents, Kevin, Julie, the boys, and I. My other 3 siblings are all with their in-laws this Christmas, so we will be celebrating with them in spirit!
Like many families, we have time-honored traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Christmas Eve is one of those evenings of the year whose menu is heavily influenced by these wonderful traditions. Every Christmas Eve, our meal features 'Oyster Stew'.
I'll pause for the inevitable gasps of disgust & facial expressions that will undoubtedly follow that proclamation.
I know. It's not something you will come across very often, but is something that makes its appearance once a year in the Dotzenrod house. I can't say that I particularly enjoy it myself, but I like that our family has this unique tradition.
Most of my family enjoys it, with the exception of my little sister Abby & I. In our house, if you didn't like what was being served, TOUGH! You ate it or went hungry and I personally think this is the best way to raise kids. As a result, I am one of the least picky people you'll come across. So every Christmas Eve, I'd have a small bowl of Oyster Stew, sans the oysters, and load it up with handfuls of Oyster Crackers... so many crackers in fact that it was almost a solid you could chew. Gross, I know, but it then tasted more like crackers than the cream/butter base of the stew.
But there's no need to call "Child Protection Services" - I definitely didn't go hungry. In addition to the Stew, we also had other hor'doueves, such as a meat & cheese tray, relish tray, and a fish tray, which features 'delicacies' such as kipper snacks, pickled herring, sardines, and smoked oysters. I actually enjoy kipper snacks - I have no idea what it is & probably don't want to know. It comes from a can & probably has a shelf life equal to my age... but it takes pretty snacky!
About 10 years ago, when sister-in-laws started to come on the scene, my parents felt it was time to introduce another dining option on Christmas Eve. Afterall, they didn't want to get things off on the wrong foot for these young couples, celebrating their first Christmas together. While I was initially a bit bitter about the fact that an optional pasta dish was made for them when this is what I had been asking for all my life, I was just happy to be benefiting from their presence!
Tonight we gather at my brother's house - he is quite the 'foodie' so the meal will definitely not disappoint! Our menu is as follows:
- Stuffed Mushrooms
-Artichoke & crap dip with pita bread
-meat & cheese tray
-home-made icecream w/ fresh berries
I am confident that none of us will go hungry and that instead, we will all over indulge and retire to bed, a few stones heavier than we were at the beginning of the day! I'll be sure to post some photos of the food.
Oh, and if you read my post about the Christmas Ice Cream debacle - rest assured. I will not be manning the stove at any point this weekend! So it should be a cooking-crisis-free weekend for my family.
Merry Christmas to you & yours!!