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Someone works his last “Nutcracker” Christmas Eve afternoon. The odds are good he will come straight home and directly to bed. This is understandable, but a pity, as I ‘ve planned a resplendent Christmas Eve dinner. I don’t have anything else to write about at the moment, so I thought I would share. Spo.

Poinsettia Cocktails. Last year Christmas Eve we were invited to Kobalt, our favorite watering hole. Kat, our favorite bartender (oh how I miss her!), was working that night. I was horrified at the notion of spending Christmas Eve in a bar – this sounded shocking and depressing, but admittedly more pleasant than the crowd at St. Joan for ‘midnight mass’ at 7pm.* Truth be told it was jolly good fun. Kat served poinsettia cocktails – which is what I am concocting tonight. It is cranberry juice, a bit of simple syrup, some sparkling wine, and an orange twist.

Oyster dip. The Lovely Neighbor (I miss her as well!) would invite us over on Christmas Eve for drinks and nibbles. Her mother, the late Merle, always made an oyster dip. I will make some myself in honor of her and the day. I thought the recipe was a complex one but in fact it is merely tinned oysters and a certain type of diced tomatoes, served on crackers. I will eat it with relish.

Stuffed jalapenos. Years ago in Santa Fe, after a lunch in which we drank Bloody Marias, we did some temulent shopping which included a chile-shaped metal stand in which to roast jalapenos. We felt foolish at first for this purchase, but over the years we’ve used it many times. What goes for stuffing, varies with the season and one’s fancy. This year’s poppers will have in them cheese, bacon, and chopped onion.

Salmon. My Christmas Eve dinners now always have a salmon as its centerpiece, and I am not Italian either. I cooked mine in a foil wrap. The sockeye salmon (proper salmon, no rubbish) bakes in a sauce with basil and spices. I tried this before and it didn’t work out; the foil had a puncture and it made a frightful mess of things. I will double-wrap this bad boy so as not to repeat the error.

Green bean casserole. Dammit I want some, so I am making some. I will do it the good-old Midwestern way using tinned beans and cream of mushroom soup. Don’t judge. I grew up on this sort of stuff. It made me the man I am today. I will coif it a bit and make it ‘southwestern’ with some added chilies.

Speaking of Midwest traditions, my late Mother always had a birthday cake on Christmas Eve for Baby Jesus. These cakes never had candles I recall, as Baby Jesus was in our hearts and not around to blow them out. Someone and I won’t be having a cake this year, but I made some cookies. BadNoteB (the dear!) sent a recipe for ‘PMS ginger chocolate cookies’. I will serve them for ‘small chocolate cone’ tonight.** I don’t have any pain, so the ‘Pain Management Service’ element of the confection will be lost on me. I hope they pair with Constant Comment tea, which is the the official tea at Christmas time.***


*Over the years, attendance at midnight mass has dropped off considerably, apparently no one can or wants to stay up that late anymore. The mass, rescheduled for 7PM, swells its normal capacity five-fold and is quite boisterous what with children running around. Given covid19, I will keep away – again.

**Spos refer to all desserts as ‘small chocolate cone”. This is like the British calling all their desserts ‘pudding’.

***Addendum: I just cooked a batch of ~ 3 dozen of these cookies. They are scrumptious. The ginger and the chocolate make a lovely balance to say ‘this isn’t just an ordinary chocolate cookie’. I give them 5 stars.

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December 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018