The other day I was browsing through an old recipe folder and I came across a culinary writing sample from 2006. One of the questions I had to answer was ‘What was your favorite meal of all time?’ It’s funny because the meal I went on to describe, 2004’s Christmas Eve dinner, is one that I’ve thought of often recently. I want to recreate it for this year’s Christmas Eve. Finding this sample is a sign that I’ve got to do it! Here’s what I wrote:
“Every year on Christmas Eve my family spends the day at my grandfather Al’s house. Al is not your ordinary conventional granddad: he prefers to be called ‘fairy godmother’ instead of ‘grandpa’ and on Christmas Eve, he usually wears a red velvet smoking suit that would make Austin Powers green with envy.
On this Christmas Eve, in 2004, he received a bushel of Maryland blue-crabs smothered in Old Bay as a gift. Instead of having a traditional formal diner in the dining room with fine china and table linens, we covered the kitchen’s table in old newspaper. All the candles were lit and Frank Sinatra’s voice serenaded Christmas classics.
It was a small group, Al, my mother, my aunt, my older brother, my younger sister, and I sat crowded around the table. We had warm potato salad, crusty French bread ripped right off the baguette, small bowls filled with melted butter and just-squeezed lemon juice; and of course, lots and lots of delicious fresh crab and cool bubbly champagne.
Al, as usual, told us the most hysterical stories of his many escapades. My aunt taught us the most efficient way to crack crab. My normally reserved brother made us delirious with laughter as he posed for several photos with a crab dangling from his oversized Angelina Jolie-like upper lip. The dinner was full of happiness and our stomachs were full of crab. It ended with a scrumptious chocolate cream pie for dessert. Although the food, atmosphere, and occasion are essential to any dinner party, it is the company who make the meal memorable.”
Here’s a photo of the aftermath of this dinner!