First and most importantly: The pace is SLOW
It’s Monday, December 24, otherwise known as Christmas Eve and I haven’t been at work since last Thursday. Here are some twisted thoughts on the season so far.
While I don’t love the commercialism and blatant consumerism the season has largely become for much of the United States, I haven’t become a complete Scrooge either. We have a space in our financial buckets for this time of year for thoughtful gifts and to easily afford some special food and drinks as treats that we wouldn’t have the rest of the year. It’s similar to the old Christmas Club that banks would offer many years ago so hopefully regular people aren’t going into revolving debt in order to do something nice with family and friends. This year I bought the lovely and talented Mrs. Smidlap a 17 foot multi-position adjustable ladder (The Little Giant type). That’s how a hopeless romantic rolls after all! In turn MB got me high quality replacement slippers with a rubber sole to stave off the foot rot and stink of the existing ones of the same make and model. She also gave me that bottle of wine in the photo from the Cornas region of the Rhone River Valley in France. It’s the best wine I had in 2018 and as 100% syrah it’s what American syrah from California and Washington aspire to become when they grown up. She was also kind enough to gift me some anchovies, escargots, and some pickled herring in keeping with my request to try and only give me things I can eat or drink.
Speaking of eating and drinking, last week I made some pecan pralines for us and a couple of coworkers. They’re a complete pain in the nuts to make as you can’t really leave the stove and need to keep stirring constantly for 30 consecutive minutes. Even with all that they are completely worth the effort. The coworkers appreciated them as they were completely unexpected too. Those are the kinds of gifts I like to give: the ones that I just felt like making or buying and giving with no consideration of receiving anything in return.
They were so good I made another batch for our little dinner party on Saturday night with our friends from Paradise Wine. We usually get together a few times a year and bust open some fancy bottles that are appreciated by real wine enthusiasts. I made mushrooms stuffed with crab and used the rest of the stuffing for crab cakes the next day, which my in-laws really enjoy. Then we just had some fancy cheeseburgers on the grill because really the night is all about the vino and the company. The wine store folks enjoy visiting MB’s art studio to see the most recent renovation efforts and the progress of the latest paintings. My public defender friends also popped in for an hour or two during the party and that is an unexpected treat. There was plenty of off color humor and nobody had to drive due the them all being right in the neighborhood. Oh, and they also brought over a 6 month old standard poodle puppy who Banjo! played with for 3 straight hours. The puppy only had one accident in the house but having been dog owners for a long time we just clean it up and move forward with the fun.
We slept in late Sunday to shake off the previous night’s festivities as I refuse to rush to travel. The extra time was much appreciated due to maybe having some absinthe at our little party. The effects of that delicious concoction tend to linger a little. We got here yesterday just in time to watch the late afternoon football game between the Saints and Steelers with my father-in-law. If you’ve ever been on the wrong end of the in-law lottery you can relate to truly appreciating spending time with ones you like and enjoy. The Saints won and we rocked a casual dinner with those crab cakes I made and, you guessed it, more wine!
While we were loading up the car yesterday for the 4 1/2 hour drive over I noticed all the packages in our trunk. Mrs. Me likes to do it this way so who the hell am I to argue? It’s best to just go with the flow sometimes. My sister-in-law, whom I also adore and who lives nearby is coming over tonight to make lobster risotto for Christmas eve dinner so that will be a nice treat. I like hanging around people who know their way around the kitchen. MB is out and about with her mom today and I’m just hanging out with my father-in-law and writing this post while Banjo! just chills. Hopefully we’ll squeeze in some time with my great buddy who lives not too far away. I have a Smidlap shirt with his name on it. Like I said before, I like giving gifts sometimes just because I feel like it and I think he would like it, being a fellow boxer lover.
Tomorrow’s dinner will be a rib roast and don’t worry because I travel with my trusty meat thermometer so I don’t drop the ball on that one. Then on Wednesday morning we’ll travel over to Boston to eat dinner at a friend’s house. They also know their way around the kitchen very well and I’m anticipating raw oysters and more good wine. We’ll bring that Cornas wine to share. Thursday we’ll come back here to Saratoga and we have dinner plans for 4 at a nice restaurant in town for a rare meal out. I’m hoping to pick up the dinner check for our friends who have been so generous in the past. I think we’ll make it to the magnificent Saratoga State Park with the dog once or twice while we’re here to get some needed running around. Mostly all I wish for is the pace stays as relaxed as what it’s been so far. I hope all your holidays are stress free as possible too. Slow down. Do less of higher quality. Be safe.
What are y’all doing for the season? Any big travel plans? Cooking anything special?