Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Festive Fiasco, the Sequel

First of all, I'm cracking up because a couple of you have complimented my Christmas tables in the previous post. To paraphrase Melanie, for instance, I have a knack for decorating tables. I thank you sincerely for that compliment, dear friends. Apparently, I have a, you know, a "je ne sais quois" for putting plates and napkins on a table in a manner that suggests to the guest that he/she is just about to actually eat some "edible" food.

Unfortunately, what I also have a knack for is a certain "je ne sais whaaaa?" for cooking.

It happened again, people.

The ham did not emerge from the crock pot as a pig sculpture this year, but it came out wrong. Oh so wrong. The ham tasted like a piece of meat that someone accidentally dropped into a giant can of Coke and swirled around a couple of times. I have deduced that ham should not be caffeinated and/or carbonated.

I tried a new brand of bread crumbs for stuffing, "Mrs. Cubbison's." I made a great big pan of it because that's the one thing my son asked for for Christmas, besides a loofah. (Never mind).

I had my husband and son taste it before the guests came. They swapped that "uh-oh" look, and I knew it was bad. Let me put it this way: Mrs. Cubbison's bread cubes apparently contain some top-secret ingredients, which I'm pretty sure include Play-doh and latex gloves. (I always wondered where those discarded doctor's office disposables go.)

My turkey and ham cooked away to practically nothing. We threw out the dressing (as we Northerners call it). In spite of my direction-giving at the beginning of the meal, no one ate any foods from one spot in the kitchen. It was like a "no-fly" zone. Or a "no-graze" zone. So I have a ton of cocktail wieners left over. The candy buckeyes I made started melting as soon as I brought them out of the refrigerator. Do you need to hear more?

I had prepared a secondary salad for my mom to eat because she has a limited diet, and everything hurts her. The salad I prepared especially for my mom (and wrote a note to myself about so that I would not forget it and then mentally reminded myself to remember the note over and over like a maniac) included peeled strawberries. Yes, you read that right, I peeled strawberries so that she wouldn't get any seeds. And I made her a poppy seed dressing sans the poppy seeds to put on the special seedless salad. I put the special salad in a special container and put it at her plate, where I pointed it out so that she would know it was hers, specially made, for her, by me. With love and a paring knife.

She took one look at it and said, "I can't eat that. It's got raw spinach in it." So my dad ate it, because he did not realize it was for her, even though I had been nearly standing on their table shouting it. Bless his heart, he just got confused and ate her salad, which did not make her happy, although she herself could not eat it.

Do you need to hear more?

Two guests whom I did not expect showed up late. Glad to see 'em, just had a limited amount and variety of food left to offer them. It was like, "Hey, how about some gravy? No potatoes, but how 'bout some gravy?" "Would you like some gravy with that fudge? Don't miss those mixed nuts over there; you won't believe the variety."

Do you need to hear more?

My parents went home that night and got deathly ill. My 86 year-old father threw up the entire night, and suffered other unmentionable things. And my mom was awake all night, too. Today she told me that when she sat in one particular chair in my house, it made her cough. She also mentioned that I had dark circles under my eyes that night.

So, friends, because of my ineptness at hostessing and cooking, and because I look so bad even trying it, and because of my tendency to poison my elderly parents, I'm accepting the aforementioned "table setting" compliment. I'm embracing it, I'm seizing it, and rolling around in it like Paula Deen would in butter, like Sandra Lee would in bourbon.

Next year, it's gonna be pizza and seedless, vegetable-less, fruitless salad and some plain cookies, placed specially upon wildly festive plates upon chargers with silver and candles. And God bless us, every one!


Llama Momma said...

Oh my word, I haven't laughed this hard in days. Bless you for writing this...

Big Mama said...

Bless your heart. I promise I'm laughing with you and not at you.

Missy said...

Oh, poor Linda!!! But I am giggling hysterically, is that some compensation?

As my husband said when recently discussing my housekeeping skills: "You have other gifts, honey."

Susanne said...

Oh dear Linda! I don't know what to say first! First, I guess, I better say ignore the email I sent asking how Christmas dinner was. Next, I hope your Dad is okay now. And then I just want to give you a great big hug. And lastly, you really do set a nice table. I just piled my dishes and cutlery at one end of the buffet table and said go for it.

Carol said...

That was hilarious! And thank you for not mentioning the other unmentionable things your father suffered that night. Hope he feels better.

Barbara H. said...

The line about the dark circles cracked me up. I thought, "Well, no wonder, after the night you had!"

You could write for sit-coms! I can just picture this.

Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts

Melanie said...

OH MY! You must have used Pepsi instead of Coke on that ham. I don't know what could have happened. What kind of ham did you use, girl?
I didn't even know you could peel strawberries.

Marsha said...

This ranks right up there with my Christmas disasters. I only wish mine involved food!

Thanks for the laugh Linda!

ps... we must be related as it sounds like we have the same relatives.

Mommy, the Human Napkin said...

You and I must be related somehow. I don't even try to do big dinners at my house. Because it would turn out the exact same way, except maybe with me breaking something into the food or cutting someone by accident or setting something on fire. I will offer to be hostess and set the tables myself, but they all have to bring the food.

All that to say, "I'm feeling your pain!"

Debbie said...

Oh my goodness! I don't need to hear any more or I'll start hyperventilating from the laughter. I don't know how you make such frustrating situations so funny but you consistently do!
Peeling strawberries? Who knew you could do that!? And it sounds like the one thing I think is hardest to make, the gravy, came out fine!

Amy said...

Oh my word. I am dying over here in Crawfordsville! I hope it's okay to laugh at this because I have pretty much snorted through the whole thing. And for some reason I couldn't stop laughing even when I read about your parents not feeling well. I just can't help it tonight! Feel better dad!

Anne Bradshaw said...

Thanks for my end of year laugh! Glad I found your blog this afternoon. It made my day, and I forgot about the freezing snow outside.

I messed up our Christmas meal also. Everything would have been fine, if only I'd made enough gravy. I haven't cooked for 20 people in decades, and forgot how dusty-dry turkey and all the trimmings can be without a good gravy soaking. Ugh! Not a happy memory.

Karen said...

Hi Linda,
I've been tied up with family things and have just gotten over to say Hi! In answer to your question, I use a Canon digital, but it was my husbands, so he got me a new one for Christmas this year. I'm posting pictures tomorrow of the two cameras. Thank you for your sweet compliments, and I enjoyed reading some posts of yours. I plan to come again, and I hope you'll visit me and leave a note again soon.
Nice to "meet" you.
Karen @ Kindred Haven

Carrie said...

Oh. my. goodness. I'm so sorry it was such a horrible experience for you, but I'll admit it did make me giggle.
Here's to next year!
God bless :)

The Preacher's Wife said...

i am SO glad i'm not the only one who tries so incredibly hard only for everything to go horribly wrong. like this year I forgot my nephew's presents at our get together. and last year's turkey came out of the oven with only the spine intact. hubby accused me of basting it in battery acid.

and then there were the toll house cookie brownies that i used self rising flour AND salt/soda. and the quiche with a graham cracker crust...are you getting the picture, linda?

you are not alone my friend and thank goodness neither am i...:))


The Preacher's Wife said...

okay, i'm on my new computer and need to email you...will you send your address to me at



Johanna said...

I'm so glad you are able to share your stories with us, because this is one of the funniest ones I've heard- I mean your Dad getting sick isn't funny, but,I sort of had a Mrs. Cubbinson's(?) experience myself, and today the cashier from the local store asked how my Christmas was and I hesitated and then said "Good" and she said "Cause it's over, right- I was following them kids around with a garbage bag all day!" and we laughed like crazy. Your table settings are GORGEOUS, and you are Martha Stewart-esque to host 2 nights in a row. The dog outfits are adorable. And Martha has plenty of assistants. You did your very best,man, and you have Christmas stories now for years to come, ones that will make everyone laugh and wipe their eyes.

Kim said...

Oh dear......sounds like your Christmas was memorable!!! lol.

Thanks for the laugh.......:-)

Anonymous said...

Bless you, I really hope you have a happy new year.

Mel's World said...

That was awesome! I know I shouldn't laugh, but it is so hard not too! I can totally is not necessarily my thing. (My dear husband will shout an AMEN out on this one!).

Glad to hear that you just rolled with it! ;)

Anonymous said...

I know that you were probably joking about the pizza, but at our house Christmas lunch is pizza, cake, and ice cream. A birthday party for Jesus that started when my daughter was 2 and has gone on now for 6 years. It makes my mom cringe not having ham and all the fixings--but we like it just fine. And it is OH SO stress free and with next to no clean up I can enjoy the family in whatever they are doing instead of spending hours cleaning up.

Just something to think about--even though your kids are all older. There's worse things than pizza at Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Let's make a deal. Next year I'll cook for you, and you do my table. I'm so not the decorating person, but this year I made 13 chocolate truffle pies as gifts with rave reviews. My family was asking to take home ham and turkey because it was so good, and that doesn't include the pumpkin cake, fudge, cherry cloud cookies, or white chocolate cheesecake. Honey, I love to do the holiday food gig. Coordinating napkins and placemats...not so much.

dcrmom said...

Oh NO!!! I feel bad laughing at your expense, but you tell it so well.

Here's a helpful hint. Next year: Pizza Delivery! ;-)

Merrie said...

I am laughing... I relate too well. I always say that I am not a Martha and it is very uncomfortable to be put (FORCED) into that role just because you are woman and in the family. My sister-in-law is a combination of Martha Stewart and Miss Manners and everything she touches glows, shines, matches and is delicious - always with the perfect amounts. I hate having her come to my house and avoid it at all costs - one of the perks of living halfway across the US from her...
Happpy New Year!

His Doorkeeper said...

I don't always laugh out loud when I read blogs....but your description of Christmas dinner was an all-outloud laugh!! I would like to find someone who would do ALL the cooking and let me do all the decorating and it would be a Martha fete!! I can relate to everything you mentioned!
Happy New Year!

Sarah said...

So so funny! And your comment about Sandra Lee made me laugh out loud. Every time I watch her show I wonder to myself if anyone else thinks she is a raging alcoholic.

Lynne said...

I'm sorry, but that was about the funniest thing I've ever read! What a meal!

Hope everyone has recovered.

Roxanne said...

Bless your heart, friend. Bless. Bless. Bless.

You are precious. . .and I'm so sorry that your cooking lacked the desired effect--and some undesired effects. Be kind to yourself and let us all ship in a Christmas meal to you next year.

We love you.

PJ said...

Absolutely hysterical!!! You are to be commended for your hyperbole. I'm sure it couldn't have been that bad...or could it??? LOL