I love a pretty table.
I love even more that when my family gathers for dinner on Christmas Day, none of us feels compelled to wear red or green or silly sweaters festooned with embroidered reindeer and candy canes. We steadfastly remain ourselves, resembling a huddled group of beat poets in a dim nightclub: jeans and black sweaters are derigueur, no matter how sparkly the table.
Christmas this year was, as always, a reassuring and energizing mix of talk about politics, baking, what books we’re all reading, what books some of us are writing, computer science, history, art, crazy people we know, music, gardening, economics, dog antics, physics…I adore these folks. There’s no drama or intrigue; it’s just downright fun.
I cherish Christmas for the opportunity it gives me to see them and to pamper them by cooking my heart out. Every year, I understand more deeply how lucky I am to be part of this particular family and to have the privileges we do; to be able to spend time in each other’s company.
What did we eat? Well, the Master Engineer roasted a pork loin. It was studded with garlic and rubbed with spices and fresh herbs and was perfectly cooked (those digital probe thermometers really do work). I made a wine sauce for the pork, crispy little potatoes with thyme, sugar snap peas and for dessert, chocolate eclairs.
Tonight we have one more dinner together before my brother The Professor departs for home. For me, that’s the Closing Ceremony of Christmas 2006. Even though there are still too many cookies left.
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