Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Regal Roast of Pork

Everyone in my family knows how to cook. (Okay, so I'm giving my father the benefit of the doubt. He could cook if he had to.) My mom is the master, but my three sisters have all ascended far beyond apprenticehood. Margy, too, has it going on in the kitchen. If she weren't married to an obsessive stove hog like myself, I have no doubt she would be well on her way to great things, even more than she already is. Her baking is becoming legendary, and I bet she could easily reach the same level with her cooking. But alas, I insist on doing much of the cooking for Margy.

Anyway, this year my family had Christmas dinner at my sister's place -- a first. We had always gathered at our parents', so this was a big deal, and no one really knew what to expect. There were lots of inquisitive phone calls leading up to the big day, mostly related to scheduling and menu.

"So, what time do we go over there?"

"Hmm... not sure. Ask Mom?"

"Yeah, Mom doesn't know."

"Gotcha. What are we having this year?"

"Hmm... not sure. Ask Mom?"

But my sis -- we'll call her Sister #1 with a nod to chronology, not preference (the only brother is unwise to play favorites) -- did a wonderful job. Not that I was worried. Again, she's a terrific cook, and together with my mom (and, I'm sure, Sisters #2 and #3 here and there), she put out a truly memorable dinner.

The crown roast of pork was a vision of beauty. My mom had ordered it from our awesome local butcher, who as usual came through with a gorgeous piece of meat -- nine tasty pounds of porcine succulence. And don't you love the little hats on each chop? Or are they booties? Mom brought her famous sausage stuffing and let it get really crisp and browned in the oven (all of us like everything crisp and browned), and my sister made new potatoes and a giant plate of deep-green broccolini, one of my faves. She chose great wines and added more irresistible cookies to the traveling carnival of sweets that came over from my parents' house.

Another triumph. A Christmas full of fun and food. The eating never stops.

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