Ah, Christmas week! Is there a better week for riotous, extravagant eating? Sure, Thanksgiving is wonderful, but that is all about the bird and its fixings and is really centered on that one day. While there may be some latitude with tradition, by and large, tradition keeps that week pretty fixed culinarily. Meanwhile, for someone such as myself, who enjoys spending time with my family and friends as much as great eating, Christmas Week, during which tradition is prominent, but ultimately anything goes, is the epitome – at least it usually is.
This week started out promisingly enough with a wonderful Greek dinner party held by that fabulous Greek Goddess herself, Pat Sheldon and her wonderful husband, Albert that featured a succulent Greek style leg of lamb and a number of different “kopitas” amongst other delights. By a certain view, that lamb should probably have been my taste of the week, as it turned out to be the tastiest meal that I actually ate over the course of the week.
You see, by Wednesday, I began to get sick, very sick, with a nasty GI bug. I was supposed to be at work, on-call that night, but though I tried, I couldn't physically do it and had to rely on a generous colleague to cover me. By the next morning, Christmas Eve, I thought I was doing a little better and rather than stay home alone for Christmas (I'm no McCauley Culkin), I made the decision to go with my family to drive to New Jersey, where we would spend Christmas Eve with my family and their Italian based goodies (it was for there that I had ordered cheese, but that is a story for another time – if we are friends on facebook or you follow me on Twitter, you already likely have an idea about this), and Christmas Day with my wife's family, where another fine meal was planned. It was going to be especially convenient this year since both celebrations were in the same town with the homes literally no more than 5 minutes from each other.
When I arrived at my niece's house on Christmas Eve, mistaking the feeling in my tummy for hunger, I started sampling some of the delights including crab, lobster and shrimp cocktails, fresh mozzarella and baked clams. I didn't actually have much of any of them though, as it turned out that my taste was way off. Of the various things I tried, only my brother's shrimp cocktail tasted "right" to me (I don't know if that meant it was good or bad). In addition, I was no longer feeling better, but returning to chills and fever and frequent visits to my namesake. I had no energy and plenty of abdominal cramps as well. It was no fun and I was no fun, so ultimately, I slunk away and rested in a guest bedroom with an adjacent bathroom for the bulk of the evening.
With the help of ES Tylenol and Immodium, I made it through the night with only a few disturbances and I spent the bulk of Christmas Day in bed sleeping, while my family was out at my wife's brother's house for brunch. I managed to join the land of the living for dinner, but while they enjoyed beautiful beef tenderloin, I feasted with orange gatorade. That orange gatorade was my staple all that day and for a good part of Saturday as well. For a long time, it appeared that it would actually be my taste of the week.
Fotunately though, it didn't have to be as I was well enough Saturday night when we arrived home to take nourishment in the form of a goose-stock enriched chicken soup. I like a good chicken soup, but it has been some tiome since a relatively plain broth tasted so good to me or was appreciated so much by me. For that reason, my wife's home-made goose-chicken soup is clearly my Christmas Week Taste of the Week!
As with many things associated with Christmas, the most appreciated items don't always come in the prettiest packages.