Thursday, December 24, 2009

the night before christmas

and everyone (except the coughing and sneezing children) is exhausted.

my brother and sister-in-law drove half the night to get here. they've both got nasty colds along with the baby.

my mum is cooking and cleaning and organizing like crazy - while at the same time, taking the kids sledding, ice-skating and making them three square meals a day. she and my dad were up til 1 am getting the house ready.

sasha was at a sleep-over so she didn't sleep much. zarina's a mass of adolescent hormones and growls. mirad and nathalia left home an hour after their bedtime, so they are weepy and tired, too.

at the moment, the tempers are about to start flaring so i've slipped out of the kitchen.

my mum's carefully-planned christmas dinner menu started with a standing rib roast. but then my sis-in-law said she preferred goose or duck (after the menu was decided) and the search began - albeit on the phone because my mum was in nyc looking after me.

after a series of discussions and phone calls with my dad in dc over the course of a week,

he bought a 6-pound boneless rib eye roast.

and there were no small goose or ducks to be found in the suburban dc area.

so this morning, whilst looking at the french chef cookbook to firm up her ratatouille recipe and chopping aubergine and courgettes, my mum turned forlornly to the boneless rib eye roast and said, "now i don't know what to do with it..."

she asked me to look up some recipes in the betty crocker cookbook while she finished making scrambled eggs for the kids and bouncing the teething, whining baby on her hip.

i looked up some recipes online and while she was taking the younger ones sledding, i thought i'd be useful by pre-marinating the meat in a bit of tamari, salt, pepper and garlic.

though, of course, this threw off my mum's plan which she had formulated whilst sledding, to grill the meat with only sel de grillon and nothing else.

so when she came home, she took one look at the 6-pound monstrosity and said, "you do it." i had a feeling i shouldn't have tried to help...

then she proceeded to make the rest of her menu in an irritated way and complain to my brother about things.

my brother's reaction to his terrible headcold was to take nyquil - which has made him all spacey and tired - so he is managing to float past it and not offering any advice.

the teenagers have gone with my sis-in-law to the mall which makes them pleasantly absent. though i am sure they will return soon and grouchy, just ready for everyone to have a big argument.

now i'm being summoned downstairs to try to save the beef - am nervous that there is so much riding on it. perhaps i better just cut it up into steaks.

four hours left til the big christmas eve dinner.

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