• "Oh, if I could only put things into words as I see them! Mr. Carpenter says, 'Strive, strive -- keep on. Words are your medium -- make them your slaves -- until they will say for you what you want them to say.' That is true, and I do try, but it seems to me there is something beyond words -- any words -- all words -- something that always escapes you when you try to grasp it -- yet leaves something in your hand which you wouldn't have had if you hadn't reached for it. ... I have written myself out for tonight, and am going to bed."
    - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily Climbs

    This is my place to "write myself out" -- sharing both my day-by-day thoughts and my artistic output. Thank you for visiting! - Carmen Pauls Orthner
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A full plate

Filed under Christmas • Written by Carmen @ December 18, 2010

Okay, yeah, that’s a descriptor of my “to do” list, but it’s also an apt title for my response to the Dec. 18 prompt about Christmas dinner. So here we go:

Having never been the chef of the house – either growing up or now – I don’t know exactly what the menu will be for any of our Christmas celebrations.

This year we will be having dinner on “the day” in the house at 239 Otter Street in Air Ronge, where Bryan grew up, with his parents, his siblings and their families – so I can make a few predictions about mealtime.

There will be a lacy tablecloth on the large, dark wooden table, and the napkins will be paper but something very seasonal. At least one of the kids (Theo, age 2, or Quinn, age 4) will bang out a few notes on the piano in the dining room. The two lefties (me and Jake) will be seated at the opposite ends of the table, with Dad (Nelson) at the far end by the china cabinet next to me, after he’s set up his Nikon SLR camera to take the group photo we will all smile for, Angie and Darcy across from me, Bryan to my right, and then the Sengas and Mom (Ruth) grouped around the end closest to the kitchen and the back entrance.

And if my predictions are right, there will be a big bowl of punch with gingerale, a roast turkey with homemade stuffing, baked ham for everyone but Bryan, and cabbage rolls for everyone but Darcy. There will be mashed potatoes (the mashing is Darcy’s job) in a cut crystal bowl, and cranberry sauce, and a glass dish with a little fork for spearing the pimento-stuffed olives and/or pickles. Janelle will bring a side dish – likely a Japanese salad – and Angie will have her corn and red pepper casserole.

Mom will have baked oodles of fresh buns (perhaps even the beloved “funny buns”), and there will be a joking bit of tussling between Darcy and Janelle over who will get more of her famous wild rice casserole. There will be the veggie casserole with fried onion rings on top, and two bowls of Jello – a sugar-free one for Dad, who has diabetes, and one for everyone but especially Quinn, once she’s finished the requisite bites of other foods, and Darcy will tease her that he’s going to eat all the Jello before she can get any.

For dessert, there will be a lovely homemade pie or two, with ice cream brought up from the freezer in the basement (Dad’s job). I will make the coffee and get the mugs (my favorite is the one with a cartoon of Einstein), and for the non-coffee drinkers, there will be tea (strawberry, most likely) in the white pot with the hummingbird on the handle. And then all the food will be stashed away, with the leftovers that don’t fit in the fridge covered with silver foil and placed on the covered porch to keep cool until supper, which is when we’ll make turkey and ham sandwiches and warm up plates in the microwave.

I’m hungry already….


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