Our Christmas Dinner

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York I Friday, 27 December 2019

This year, I decided to make a nice Christmas dinner, just for Thing 2 and me.

Last month, for Thanksgiving, we were invited to my friend Patti’s house. I thought about taking my delicious Cranberry-Orange Relish, but when I discovered at least four of her family members have nut allergies, I decided against it. I brought a Swedish Apple Pie, instead.

We had a wonderful time. There were a ton of people there, because Patti has a lot of kids, and all three of her siblings and their families were there. The turkey was moist and the mashed potatoes were garlicky. One of her daughters is an excellent gravy maker and also made a delicious sweet potato puree. Another daughter made a cauliflower casserole I really enjoyed.

Thing 2 is friends with yet a different one of her daughters, so he had kids to hang out with. Everything was so comfortable and we enjoyed being there.

But since I hadn’t cooked for Thanksgiving, I wanted to make an extra nice meal for Christmas Day. I decided to roast a whole chicken. A turkey is just too big for the two of us, and a turkey breast is missing the drumsticks, which are Thing 2’s favorite. So a five-pound chicken was perfect, seasoned with lemon pepper, paprika, and Real Salt. (Santa brought some spices in my Christmas stocking!)

I decided to make all the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes, too. I didn’t feel quite up to making mashed potatoes from scratch, so I used Idahoan instant potatoes, which I like quite well. And I’ve never been one to make stuffing from scratch, so I used Bell’s stuffing mix.

Instead of sweet potatoes, I decided to bake a butternut squash. It’s the same color and general idea as a sweet potato, and tastes delicious slathered with butter and sprinkled with brown sugar. And of course, I made the Cranberry-Orange Relish! Both of these side dishes brighten up the plate so much.

I set the table carefully with my Homer Laughlin Eggshell Georgian Cashmere plates which I’d purchased from Goodwill in 2018 with some gift money.

And then came the best part of all. I now have a complete set of Oneida Evening Star silver plate, so I was able to set the table with it for the very first time!

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy eating with good silverware. My Evening Star is perfectly weighted, glows softly under candlelight, and feels as smooth as silk. Truly a delight to eat with!

I poured some Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider and Thing 2 and I toasted to family and good food. I was so thankful to be sitting across a lovely table from my gorgeous child, eating delicious food, using sparkling silverware and softly gleaming china.

It was the perfect end to our Christmas Day…