Feast

It’s just about midnight and Sabs and I just finished putting together Vic’s tricycle. It’s a brightly colored, sturdy piece of equipment and we both know he’s just going to love it. I can’t wait to see his expression in the morning when he comes out of the bedroom rubbing his eyes sleepily only to find what’s under the tree.

Tonight’s feast went well, though we had some unexpected no-shows. I suspect that several of our guests tried to reach us to say they weren’t coming, but there was only a partial message on the answering machine, so any pertinent details were not forthcoming and I was unable to reach the folks in question by phone before the evening’s festivities.

To make a long story short, things got started much later than anticipated because we were sort of waiting to see if the guests were coming. I think giving them 2 hours of leeway was probably plenty. We still had a lovely time – all of the food was delicious, Sabs really outdid himself with each dish. The soup was tasty, warm and smooth, with a hint of spice to it. It was a fitting tribute to the season just past, acorn squash a flavor I associate so strongly with all things autumn. The salad was crisp and fresh, blending the darker flavor of spinach with the brightness of pear with the smokiness of aged balsamic vinegar. On top, a phyllo dough puff filled with creamy goat’s cheese and herbs, tangy and savory all at once. Finally, the piece de resistance was of course, the goose.

The meat was much darker than I’d expected and had a firm consistency that made me think of venison, completely unlike the softness of duck or chicken. It most brought to mind the meal of pheasant we had a few years ago for Christmas Day. The meat was wrapped around a stuffing of chestnuts and presented atop a pile of parsnip-mashed potatoes drizzled with a lightly sweet red wine and dried cherry sauce. Glazed carrots and baby leeks rounded out the plate and each bite was a melt-in-your mouth adventure in flavor.

We sat by the fireplace though no fire was lit (our fireplace is broken it seems, something of a bummer since this was the first time we’d thought to use it) and talked and laughed and enjoyed good drink until our stomachs had settled enough to contemplate dessert. I whipped up a batch of cream and put together plates of chocolate cake rounds with cream and raspberries in between. One of our guests, a classmate of Sabs’, brought apple tart and each plate also boasted a thin slice of her sweet and spicy baked treat.

With most of the food gone and appetites satisfied, we returned to talking. All this time, Vic ran around like a crazy man from person to person, especially drawn to Sabs’ friend Sean, who would lift him up high and then flip him around and back down to the ground. Vic was delighted with this game and just couldn’t get enough. Finally though, all the excitement and a long day that began with running many errands in town with me, wore him out. After he had to go into time-out for essentially trampling one guest, he was rubbing his eyes fiercely and I was able to carry him off to bed and get him to sleep in just a few minutes.

Our guests left shortly thereafter, and we sat back to assess the damage and take stock of the evening. We haven’t got too many leftovers, but the pile of dishes is positively frightening, especially since we used the good china so we have to be extra careful with everything while washing, drying and putting it away. We were both tired, but decided to stick to the plan of starting a new set of traditions and we started opening presents.

I found several DVDs and CDs from my Amazon Wish List under the tree from my brothers and my parents sent some thoughtful things as well. I gave Sabs his single gift from me and I was happy to see his eyes light up as the wrapping fell away and the book, by one of his favorite authors came into view. A few more packages later, we decided that we’d call it quits for the time being, get Vic’s trike put together and then go to bed for some well-deserved rest.

I’m looking forward to continuing the merriment tomorrow and perhaps another feast of slightly less mythic proportions in the form of a comfy breakfast. Despite a rocky start to the day in which things were started too late and frustration abounded, it all turned out well in the end. I’m ready to curl up under the comforter and snuggle in for a long winter’s nap before tomorrow dawns to more excitement.