Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. For me it is one of the most fun days of my year. On this day, most of my grandchildren come to my house to decorate my tree, eat the Roast Beast, and open presents. There is chaos, and laughter, and food and fun.
For the Manly Spouse, it is the most stressful day of the year. While I am cooking and chatting and laughing, he is watching small children run wild in our home (or so he thinks). It is a juxtopositon of our different personalities. I love watching the children decorate our tree. He is terrified it's going to fall over and that ornaments will break (gasp!). Some years ago we decided to put up the tree, set up the lights, and leave it alone. The families descend on our home before the meal is prepared. Decorating the tree gives them something to do while they wait. We have plenty of ornaments. Some inherited from my parents, others we have collected over the years. Some are made of cheap plastic, paper, or felt, others look antique. If we break a few, the world won't end, and we have plenty more.
Of course there's also lots of food around, crackers and cheese, fruit, veggies and ranch dip, and cookies. Don't forget the cookies.
Early in the morning, before the day hardly begins, I prepare the standing rib roast by making a paste of coarse sea salt, coarse ground pepper, garlic (lots of garlic), olive oil, thyme and rosemary. I don't have any particular measurements to this paste, I just start mixing it up until it feels right, and spread it all over the roast. This isn't really a blog about the recipe, but if you're interested, I'll post it at the bottom of the page.
First son is supposed to bring the green bean casserole, with fresh beans, real cream, real mushrooms, and sourdough croutons, but he's not really very reliable, so sometimes we just have the old standard. Some sort of potatoes, and corn, and we're good. There are pies waiting for dessert. We seat as many people as will fit in the dining room, one of the two times a year we use that room, eat and get full.
Then it's time for presents! Around this time also, Gramma starts to relax. When Gramma starts to relax, she starts to laugh. We open presents. We watch the cousins interact. Gramma laughs some more. This year we will have two little ones, almost two years old, together for the first time since they were babies.
Grandpa is already nervous about tomorrow. I plan to spend most of the day laughing.
Oh... Here's a copy of my "recipe":