Not Quite a Christmas Dinner

Ah, I'm home for the holidays, as the old tune goes.

What is your favorite part about Christmas? Mine is the traditions. Especially the food traditions. (A Christmas that tastes like Christmas just warms you up inside.) In my family, we have two main meals.

On Christmas Eve we meet with my dad's side of the family. All 25 of us aunts, uncles, cousins and Grandpa squeeze into a little one story ranch and do dinner potluck style. Each family brings their designated dish, which just happened to evolve into "theirs" over the years - and so help you God if you don't bring the usual. My family brings the broccoli, cheese and rice casserole. Oh, and there's usually enough wine and baked goodies to go around.

On Christmas day we get together with my mom's side of the family. There's slightly less people and slightly more room. We usually have a sit down lunch that Grandma prepares. She frets over the menu, but it tends to be the same thing every year: turkey (sometimes ham, sometimes both), mashed potatoes and chicken noodle soup (a must!), corn and broccoli (if you don't like one you eat the other), rolls, a cheese plate, dill and sweet pickles, and cranberry Jell-O salad. It's delicious.

Yes, traditions are lovely. I cling to them like a child clings to his blanky. I pretty much fall apart without them. And in my family, someone always feels the need to test the traditions. (Can you see where this is going?)

This year, my mom and my aunt decided Christmas dinner would be... lasagna.

As a friend of mine put it, "At that point, you might as well order pizza."

Being German-Irish I come from a long line of meat and potatoes people. (And I learned that the noodle soup on mashed potatoes is a Midwest thing.) I have nothing against lasagna. I like lasagna. But just not for Christmas. The idea actually kind of grosses me out.

If you read this often, you've probably gathered I like to eat, but in general I like to eat healthy - lots of fruits and veggies, a good balance of proteins and carbs (those crazy Adkins-esqe diets drive me nuts), and whole grains where possible.

Of course, Christmas is the time to gorge in the delectables you don't get other times. Cheese plates out your ears, dips that I'm pretty sure were invented just for the season, cookies and candies that are sure to put you in diabetic shock, and sausage logs (why is it they always appear at Christmas?). By the end of each Christmas dinner, I'm pretty much in a food-induced nirvana.

But think of how off-kilter I'm going to feel after this carb-heavy dinner. I'll have already replaced my peanut butter on whole wheat toast breakfast with apple and cherry turnovers, I'll probably have snacked on pitzelles and sugar cookies and my homemade biscotti all morning, and now you're going to have sit down to a big plate of lasagna. I can already feel my blood sugar dropping.

Now in the grand scheme of things, this complaint is petty. I'm HOME for Christmas this year and last year I really was eating pizza. Heck, the fact that I get to gorge on a huge meal, whatever is consists of, should be reason to celebrate.

Perhaps lasagna will be the start of a new holiday tradition. (But let's hope not!)

Photo thanks!


Michael and Yukiko Jones said...

I'm sure it was delicious. I know for Mike it would be Christmas Eve with out my Aunt's Brisket. And we always end the night with giving the boys new pj's to wear on christmas morning. :)

Unknown said...

The noodle soup on mashed potato might just be an Ohio/amish thing. I've yet to find it anywhere but the following places:

Bob Evans (an Ohio-based comfort food restaurant); and
An Amish-style restaurant in Arizona owned by people who moved there from Ohio to open that restaurant.

So tasty