The perfect holiday dinner.
My wife and I have been married 30 years now. During that time I’ve cooked at least 20 Thanksgiving dinners, 15 or more Passover Seders and countless other holiday meals.
After all this time we are finally invited to a holiday dinner prepared by one of my kids.
We are very excited and I’m sure my daughter is more than a little nervous. So, I figured I would give her the benefit of my many years of preparing meals for groups from 3 to hundreds.
Three months after we were married we invited one of my best friends to celebrate New Year’s with us. I think it was probably the first time we used the ‘good’ dishes and it was just the three of us with a bottle of wine. I remember how nice it was just to share a good meal with a friend. I wish I remembered what we made, but I can tell you, we enjoyed the evening.
So the perfect Holiday dinner….. I wish. During different holidays our dishwasher broke, our garbage disposal failed. One Thanksgiving my wife and I were so sick, we sent my son with my parents to a relative’s house. My brother took pity and came over to our house and we had swordfish for dinner. Or, how about the time we set a perfect dinner table for 15 people, but we miscounted and actually had 17
I think the holiday dinner I remember the most was a Chanukah dinner we shared with our neighbors. I was almost finished cooking and the power went out…. No electricity and I still hadn’t cooked the vegetables. Luckily, we had already cranked up the wood stove earlier in the evening and I was able to heat up a can of veggies there. We ate by candle light in the living room. As soon as we all finished eating, the kids left the table. The adults, sat, had tea (water boiled on the wood stove) and dessert by candle light and laughed about it. When the power came back on, we turned the lights off in the living room and continued talking
So, back to the perfect dinner…. First, relax, there is no such animal.
The perfect dinner is when you blend traditions from both sides of the family
The perfect dinner is when you enjoy sitting at the table with the people around you.
The perfect dinner is when you enjoy the warmth of the room more than the temperature of the food.
My father was a man who never stood on ceremony. I learned a lot from my dad. He taught me I don’t need to worry about impressing people with fancy things. What he was always impressed by, was family and friends being together.
So… the perfect dinner. Forget about it. Family, friends sharing a meal together… that’s perfect, Happy Thanksgiving to all.