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!