Christmas in the Country
'Twas the night after Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring unless you count my 11-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter, both of whom were stirring quite a bit. I am not aware of any mice.
My son's stirring was of the less-than-welcome variety. On Christmas night his stirring was due to either a stomach bug or the combination of rich food and too many sweets. The result was the kind of stirring that wakes me up a bit before midnight to tell me it needs a mop. It wasn't the best way to end a Christmas, but as my father said as he and my mother and I cleaned the floor, “There's nothing that brings a family together like a barfing kid.”
My son felt better almost immediately and in fact was back asleep long before I was. The time awake gave me the opportunity to reflect on a pretty swell day – and more pertinently, a pretty swell meal.
When I was a kid, we'd always spend Christmas Day in Amite with my grandparents. They had a big house with a large garden that provided most of the vegetables for our early evening dinner. I know that everyone thinks their grandmother is (or was) a great cook. Everyone also thinks their children are beautiful. In truth, some people have grandmothers who couldn't cook their way out of a paper bag, and some kids are ugly.
Well, my grandmother truly was a great cook, and I will refer you to widely available pictures of my offspring if you wish to judge whether their beauty meets or exceeds my own. (Exceeds.)
But my grandmother passed away years ago, so it has been a while since I sat down to dinner in Amite and had a meal as memorable as the one we had this year. My wife cooked a pork roast and oyster dressing from recipes she edited in Louisiana Life and Acadiana Profile; my mother-in-law made artichoke-and-crabmeat soup, rolls and bread; I made brussels sprouts and a beet salad. The food was good and the company better. It wasn't quite the social scene I remember from 35 years ago. Back then my grandparents and their contemporaries, children and grandchildren would go house-to-house to share food and drink. I'm nostalgic for those times, but this was nice, too.
And despite the fact that my infant daughter didn't go to sleep until 11; despite the fact that my son woke me less than an hour later to mop the floor; and despite the fact that my back is killing me and has been for days – it was a merry Christmas. I hope yours was merry, as well, and that if you have any holiday food traditions, you'll share them in the comments below.