I thought my generous amount of time off for Christmas would be an excellent opportunity to catch up on all the blog posts I hadn’t gotten around to writing during my first couple weeks of work. I pictured nice play-by-plays of all of the extravagant meals I would have planned, complete with pictures taken by an actual camera, and some of my favourite gluten-free Christmas recipes. What actually happened was that we all got sick, every day just flew by, and I cooked a lot but didn’t take a single photo because I was either up to my elbows in raw turkey carcass and my kitchen was in a state of perpetual disaster, or because I really wanted to relax and enjoy my family and our holidays instead of worrying about taking pictures of sautéed brussels sprouts.
For the most part, my food turned out great. I did a dry brine on my turkey because I was cooking dinner at my aunt’s, and we didn’t arrive at her house until Christmas Eve. The beauty of the dry brine is that it can be done in as little as 8 hours (as opposed to three days – see Thanksgiving post). I made a simple mixture of kosher salt, pepper, sage, and garlic; gave the bird a nice massage with it, and then put it in the fridge and headed off to church. The unappealing aspect of this method is that general wisdom suggests leaving the turkey in your fridge uncovered in order for the skin to dry out (leading to crispier skin when roasting), meaning you have to clear quite a wide berth in order to keep stray limbs from brushing up on any other food in your fridge (and obviously there is tons because you are cooking a turkey dinner). I don’t know why I have this obsession with getting crispy golden skin on my turkeys when not a single person in my family eats it. In the end I preferred the results of the traditional liquid brine, its flavour edged out the dry brine in terms of both meat and gravy.
I think the best way for me to summarize my holidays, culinary events and other, is to make a list a la Bridget Jones’ Diary. This is a broader picture of what went down from the 19th of December to the 4th of January, in no particular order.
CHRISTMAS ROUND-UP (stats apply to my immediate family only)
Sisters home from vet school/the coldest place in the world, thus signifying the beginning of Christmas: 1
Oven fires: 1
Family Members Sick: 3 out of 4, plus Grandma
Days added onto vacay because of illness, collectively: 5
Hospital Visits: 3
Shopping done by my father: none
Turkeys fully cooked on first try: 0
Meat thermometers functioning on Christmas day: 0
Bottles of red wine consumed: unknown
Boxes of Purdy’s given/received: 18 and 16, respectively.
Sugar cookies iced with icing made of raw egg whites that I then fed to my elderly grandparents and other extended family members, later learning that the eggs were also a month older than their expiration date: roughly 50
Pounds of butter used over course of holiday: unknown
Watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: twice
Watched Love Actually with my Grandma: once, awkwardly
Tarts consumed (butter and maid-of-honor varieties): approx. 6 dozen
Family Christmas Bingo 2014 winners: Frankincense and Moore (1st), Polar Baras Express/FrostBlights (2nd), and The Cousin Eddies (3rd). Great success.
Short term/permanent grudges formed as result of FCB ‘14: 0
Blind dates: 1
Ferries taken (one-way trips): 10 human fares plus 2 car fares ($260 value)
Flights taken (single flights): 11 (Kiewit incurred costs, in addition to unknown amounts of cash and airmiles expended)
Flights rescheduled to accommodate sick family members: 1
Dog fights: 1
Beautiful, heavy-duty professional All-Clad pans gifted to Alex: 1!!!
As you can see, it was a very good Christmas for the Priers. I hope yours was great too; that you ate with abandon and watched Love Actually sans grandmother. Happy New Year!