This year I observed Christmas in the manner that I felt best befit my Jewish heritage: eating so much food that I felt sick.
On Christmas Eve there was tourtiere, a French Canadian meat pie that allowed Karen to embrace her culinary roots and me to eat three kinds of meat in one bite. As is the custom, the tourtiere was served with pickles, which help to cut the richness of the very once-a-year tasting pie.
Christmas day started with a cup of coquito, smoked white fish and Elise's challah (notice Oli's interest in it).
After doing the breakast dishes, we then made more breakfast. This time it was scrambled eggs with bacon and leeks, and of course by the time we'd finished it was time to start preparing dinner, a braised turkey stew.
Gripped by the festive spirit (and beer), I combined every delicious ingredient I could summon. I browned two turkey wings and one thigh along with onions, celeriac and carrots. In went several dried figs, some defrosted chicken of the woods from last autumn's bounty, dried shitakes in case defrosted chicken of the woods don't taste good (they do), a few Santa Barbara black olives, leeks leftover from breakfast, wild rice, which isn't really rice at all, fresh sage and parsley, a dash of pimenton, and an ample sprinkling of black pepper. Admittedly, there may have been fewer ingredients if I'd had fewer coquitos at breakfast #1.
Amanda brought some seriously marinated seared beef (in merlot and Sichuan peppercorns), and for dessert there were Karen's homemade truffles. Throughout the day I ate gingerbread ornaments off of the tree, without my hands. I also seem to remember eating some sausage, and probably putting some into the stew, too. There were copious amounts of Fingerlakes wine, Belgian beers, Belgian style beers, port, a small bottle of icewine that myseriously appeared, some Jameson with a lemon wedge, more coquito, and, in a nod to temperance, handfuls of mesclun mix eaten out of the bag. Oh, and some leftover goat gouda from our wedding. And at some point I ate three eclaires.
When I went to bed, I felt like I was body surfing on a wave of protein, sugar and alcohol. Sugar plum fairies would have danced in my head if all of the blood wasn't going to my stomach to fight the losing battle for digestion.
I went to sleep feeling as regal as the Nutcracker but woke up in the middle of the night feeling more like the eviscerated mouse king. Only instead of a sword, my stomach had been pierced by my own lack of self control around so much incredible food. Call it protein hara-kiri.
Cold, in pain, and alone in the darkest hours of the night, I swore that I'd never again eat and drink with such abandon. In the morning I woke up feeling fine and couldn't wait to do it again next year. Or maybe next week.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Posted by Aaron Kagan at 9:06 PM