Monday, December 26, 2005
'Tis the season to be cranky
Initial promises that our dinner would be small and tasteful went in one ear and out the other as the proposed menu tripled in a span of minutes with the last minute additions. Making the situation an even bigger comedy of errors was the fact is my kitchen is the size of a shoe closet, so struggling to keep the oven door open as my mom and I shoveled endless baking pans of meats, casseroles and pies in and out and over to the table in rapid succession like a madwoman. See why I keep my culinary forays limited to recipes for one?
Complicating matters was the fact that not only were our lives scheduled around CP time, so was our cooking. And even though our guests were still 20 minutes late, our Iron Chef tandem was running a full 45 minutes behind. It was only after hearing the first car pull up to the house that I had to pull myself from the stove to sprint into the shower to freshen up and get out of a football tee and boxers to appear "presentable" as the designated singleton mascot.
A few body splash spritzes and an ensemble change later, we finally rearranged silverware and the centerpiece to make room from a full spread. Turkey, a smaller roasted chicken, pelau (which is translated as rice & peas for the Yankee crew), callaloo, macaroni pie, pastelles, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, candied yams, glazed ham along with two jugs of ponche á creme (think egg nog with a stronger kick) on a dining table that was swollen and overstuffed.
In walked the assortment of tanties, uncles and people I just didn't know from a can of paint but apparently remembered me "from small." Why do old folks think that jabbing you in the belly a la the Pillsbury dough boy while sizing up the pounds you've put on since they've seen you last is an acceptable practice? And of course when I shoot the death glance instead of the uncomfortable giggle they were expecting, I'm called rude. Whatever.
Trying to smooth things over from my obvious distance from the ladies making chit chat about distant relatives back home whom I'd never met, much less were familiar with was Mommy Dearest, and I couldn't decide whether I was proud or embarrassed that she still felt the need to brag about my minor triumphs, however few and far between they were now outside the confines of a classroom. The maternal instinct never wavers, does it?
And just when I'd resigned myself to slapping on the rubber gloves and Dawn ready to bat cleanup at the sink after the dessert dishes came back empty with just crumbs of black cake left, the doorbell rang and at the door was my mother's "cousin's" nephew summoned over to drop them home and also as an ulterior motive I sniffed a mile away — fraternizing with moi. One look at his LED lit belt and Akademiks jeans slipping off his ass guaranteed that I wasn't interested in small talk.
Next year, I'm booking a reservation out of town.
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