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December 26th, 2006:

The Christmas Goose

For Jews, we’ve led a very busy Christmas season. First we had our faux-Christmas on the second day of Hanukkah in Chicago – when we traditionally exchange gifts, under the Christmas tree, with my dad and stepmom and siblings. (Nancy, my stepmom, is not Jewish – and there is a long standing, though somewhat odd now that I’m grownup and look back on it, tree tradition in my immediate family as well.) Then the last two days, the actual Christmas, we had both Christmas Eve dinner with Adam’s brother Daniel and his wife’s family, and Christmas Day dinner with my great aunt Lee, my grandfather Hank and his girlfriend Yvonne, and Lee’s niece and nephew Barbara and Dieter from Germany.

And so today I had my first-ever Christmas Goose. Apparently there is a tradition in Lee’s branch of the family whereby Barbara and Dieter come from Germany to spend the holiday with Lee and, while hanging out and enjoying both NYC and Lee’s country house, cook an absolutely fantastic holiday dinner. And apparently, for many years now, this tradition has involved goose. Tonight was no exception – two geese, in fact, with very German rotkraut (red cabbage), knoedel (potato dumplings) and beet soup (much to Adam’s dismay), among other wonderful dishes. The goose, which I was prepared to dislike (I don’t like wild-ish meat of any kind, though I do on occasion like duck), was really amazing – tender and moist and even a tiny bit sweet, while being decadently rich. The entire meal was astounding and I am still, four hours later, so full I can barely even write about food. Maybe I can convince Barbara and Dieter to adopt me for another holiday – perhaps they want to spend Memorial Day in New York as well?

Last night’s meal, at Daniel and Andrea’s home, was also really fantastic – salt-roasted beef tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, a very flavorful lemongrass/chayote soup, and hand-carmelized creme brulee for dessert. Followed by a rousing game of Scattergories – Raphaele and I came in only second, but Adam came in last. (Finally, I beat Adam at a game!)

All this on the heels of Thursday’s latke party at our house (sans Adam, sadly, who was Bright Night-ing in Providence), where Tamara, Marni and I fried roughly 75 latkes, nearly all of which were gone before the end of the night. My house still smells like frying oil!

This week will have to be a salad week. But it was so worth it!