The ever-entertaining and vastly intriguing, Miss Dirty has thrown down the mother-fucking Yuletide gauntlet. It’s time to celebrate Midwinter, but to celebrate it with a catch: your dead are invited to join in, as well. Since I am now yet another person who greedily sucks up funds from the state, I’m in a position to get down with this cooking madness. Also, it sounds really fucking interesting.
At first, when I read about this little shindig, I figured I wasn’t going to participate. The big problem is that there’s this whole cooking thing. I’m getting moderately better every time I actually do it, but it’s still a long process before I get “wow, I’m not dying from food poisoning” good. What can I say? Culinary arts and I were never meant to get along better than a passing, “Eh. Hi. How are you?” It’s one of those awkward, creepy greetings to: you know, where the people who are chatting together are really disappointed that they accidentally ran into one another in the candy aisle at the grocery store? Yeah. You know. Oh, and no, I don’t need to hear about how much practice makes perfect because that’s just shit. No. Okay, it’s not; it’s real. But, it’s shit in my ears because I’m more likely to completely fucking ignore you as opposed to actually listen.
But, you know, it really seems like a nifty fucking thing to do. And you know, maybe I’ll be bored. So, it’ll keep me busy. However, the problem that I face with all of this, of course, is probably the same for everyone: where the hell do my people come from?
As someone whose mother once started a family genealogy project, anyone who knows me would assume that I know. However, I was peripheral during my mom’s psychotic need to connect with her roots. (What? I was in high school. Nothing was more important than my inner pain!) I went with her to local cemeteries and ooh’d and aah’d whenever she needed some encouragement. Aside from things about how there’s a lot of Native American blood in me (as opposed to my mom’s side because my bio-dad was more Native American) and that the Battle of Hastings has to do something with my family and that my name (Aubrey) is actually a French last name from the family about two generations back AND that, you know, we lived in MA and NH… Yeah, I don’t actually know that much.
To be perfectly honest, my mom’s genealogical bug bit my uncle in the ass and he probably could answer these questions. But, you know, that would be easy. Instead, I E-mailed my mother: So, we’re like French and English. What about Scots? Do we have that? And about two hours later, I received a question-less response: No Scottish. French, English, maybe a little bit of Irish. Oh, and the Native American thing. OKAY! I’VE GOT A PLACE TO START.
Actually, previous to my mom’s response, I was following the advice passed on to me from the Night-Walking Hedgehog. She started her search with where her family current resides, so I followed suit. I live in Massachusetts and for the most part, we all live there. (I have family in New Jersey, but it’s from my great-uncle who I met once. So, not important.) And my grandfather’s side of the family comes from New Hampshire. This is the extent of my start.*
(* I feel the insatiable need to mention that all of this has to do with my mom. I have two fathers: the guy who actually gave a shit and raised me. He died when I was seven and I’m not close with his family. This is mostly my choice and because I’m fucked up, psychologically, by the early death of my father. -shrug- The guy who made me has little to no merit in my head. The only reason I would want to meet him would be so that I could actually fill out my son’s health information forms accurately. Yeah, that’s it.)
Since this started (THANK YOU MISS HEDGEHOG FOR GETTING ME STARTED), I’ve had about four different tabs open with colonial cuisine on it. There are some really boring ideas and then some exotic ideas and then, some very interesting because I want to give it a shot.
The first recipe that I would really like to try is apple butter. I fucking LOVE apple butter. I used to eat it back when I was married to a jackass whenever he would take me out to Judy’s, in Amherst. (It’s on one of their main roads and it’s fucking awesome because of the butter and because they have popovers the size of your head—no lie—and chocolate that will kill you, but you’ll be happy so it’s okay.) And of course, if I end up doing that, then popovers are a fucking must. I’m also intrigued by the tourtière, which is a traditional Christmas Eve dish in Quebec and parts of France.
In fact, as I look into this, there are a lot of different recipes that I’m interested in trying out. And of course, since it’s just myself, TH, and my kid here, it really isn’t all that smart to make as much food as I keep eyeballing. I mean, and the dead, and the fact that I want to give to the spirits a la Native American tradition (HITTING ALL THE BIG ONES, BAY-BEE). However, having as many main courses seems pretty silly, right? Right. So. I’m thinking that I might do this for, like, a three-day long celebration.
AND THAT’S WHEN IT’S LIKE: SHIT YEAH, BABY. I’M ON IT.
Yule Menu (December 22, 2011)
Bread Naan bread (my take on Fougasse bread)
Main Course Bacon covered roast turkey (BACON!)
Vegetables Roast potatoes and sugar snap peas
Booze Mulled wine
After Yule Menu (December 23, 2011)
Bread Crescent rolls (cheap people, representin’)
Main Course Tourtière
Vegetables Mashed potato and stuffing (there goes my diet)
Sweets Apple pie
Booze Hot buttered rum
Holy shit. I have me some fucking work to do.