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My Christmas Dilemma

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've been outvoted and I have to say that I'm extremely disappointed with my family's taste in meals.

We're having pizza on Christmas. Franchise-made. Probably Godfather's.

This pisses me off to no end because I had a really nice menu planned: two kinds of soup (a chili and a cream soup), salad, bread, dessert. A simple but good home-cooked meal. It's being pushed aside by prefabricated faux Italian food.

If I could skip the whole affair I would, but I've been told that if I don't attend my grandmother will have fits and my mother won't talk to me for five years. The latter may not be such a bad thing, but the former would get to me.

This being the case, I've worked out a solution that will make at least *me* happy: I'm going to do a pre-dinner appetizer plate. I'm considering doing four or perhaps five two-bite appetizers, each with a unique flavor/texture. Thinking up recipes at the moment. I want them to be so good that they will actually regret ordering pizza instead of letting me cook.

Condolences and recipes are both appreciated. :bounce:
post #2 of 29
You're not the only one who's disappointed in their family's taste in meals. My father, for a while, would only eat at McDonalds. Said it was cheaper than cooking at home. He has a comment he makes all the time about food... I'll clean it up for the board... "Why eat expensive/good food when you're only going to poop it out anyway".

Good luck with your appetisers and, at the very least, enjoy what you've prepared.
post #3 of 29
This is one reason I told my extended family that we were forming our own family traditional meals for the Holidays. We'd visit them during the holidays, but my individual family would eat its special meal alone. I'll encourage my kids to do the same.

Less stress, no politics. You don't have to worry about which side of the family you ate with last year and all the rest of that.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 29
Stephanie,
It sure feels awful when your talents are not appreciated or acknowleded.
Simular things happen to me all the time so in a way i was glad to hear i wasn't the only one. And if your like me, it's all about the food and sharing it with others so now there goes a once in a year occassion.So you could do what i do now and that is i only cook for friends and family who appreciate my talents and taste and i throw "no brainer" food at the rest and turn off that part of me and just attend for the company. You could call it an early evening and create a fabulous small late night dinner for 2 that would probably be even more memorable.
trulys
post #5 of 29
Bring a great bottle of wine and some good chocolate for dessert that should help wash the taste out!

Freerider tell your father (actually you probably already have) but a McDonalds burger is 1.6 oz. at .79¢ each he is paying $7.90/lb for ground meat (and oh what quality it is too :rolleyes: ) is that really cheaper than the grocery store?;)
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #6 of 29
I can't agree with Phil more!!
It really doesn't matter what type of food you share as long as your together.
Our family, as Phils, has built our own tradition of enjoying a private meal together.
Although it has grown to 4 families, non family. It's our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. It's not pot luck(because the dads and moms are chefs) but we enjoy foods from Italy;) (me), Mexico, Viet Nam, and Trinidad.
When we go to visit familyI make it a point to praise all the store bought stuff.
Stephanie,
Sounds like a good time to start a tradition for yourself. The day doesn't matter. Cook for some of your foodie friends.
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #7 of 29
That's what we're doing too. We're skipping traditional X'mas dinner and doing our own. It's also a matter of starting our own traditions, plus, there are some people who can't get past the fact that my wife has accomplished more than all of them put together ever will in ten lifetimes.
post #8 of 29
How about a platter of sliced local prosciutto, pears, and Maytag Bleu, and very old Balsamic since you're from Iowa?
post #9 of 29
This is one of the most depressing posts i've read. Packaged chain-store food for christmas dinner??? What kind of family holiday meal is that? It's like a punch in the stomach.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm just disappointed. I was really bummed when I wrote that post this morning.

I'm just going to do some appetizers that reflect my taste for food and perhaps I'll get some compliments. If I don't, I'll just eat them all myself because I highly doubt I'll be touching the pizza.
post #11 of 29
Sorry no time for recipes today , but can't leave without a quick condolence !

All kudos to you Stephanie for standing up against this awful fast food culture that has a strong hold on your country (mine too) . Your certainly welcome down here in Sydney . We spend a kings ransom for our 14 course Xmas eve feast on exceptional wine and food , which here we enjoy alfresco long into the warm summer evening . I will save a place for you Steph just in case ;)

Anyway keep in mind (if your are over 21) that you can at least drink good wine with bad food. Just keep it away from the pizza munchers and enjoy it with your "real" food.

Merry xmas

Pinot.
post #12 of 29
This is Amerika babeee! If you can't put it in a can it's not worth eating! :D
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
The pizza disaster seems to be diverted toward Maid Rites. Considering we follow the old Maid Rite recipe, this should be much more to my liking.

I'm still doing the appetizers, however. We need some new and interesting things to try. :)
post #14 of 29

Maid Rite?

Sincerest condolences Stephanie, I'll light a candle or two for you on Christmas morning. Two ideas here that I really like. The first is Pinot's. You can wash down a few bites of any old store bought stuff with good wine and make it tolerable. Then, in the course of the meal, you can just stop ingesting the disgusting fare and enjoy the wine. If you make enough of the hors devours you can switch from the main course to the snack tray and enjoy that with the wine.
Anyway, best of luck to you. Just enjoy the folks and do your best to understand that it's the differences in people (even in what they prefer to eat on Christmas) that makes them interesting character studies. If all of them were the same you'd have a pretty boring family.
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My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
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post #15 of 29
i guess my reaction is not about the fast food in itself, but about the fact that a family dinner, and particularly a special holiday dinner, should be about cooking with love for those you care about. Doesn't matter if you can't cook well, but the fact of smelling the food in the oven, everyone sitting down, in a certain atmosphere, where, sorry, pizza cardboards don't belong. Everyone can bring something, or someone can cook for everyone, or everyone can pitch in and prepare the dinner together, it doesn't matter. it's the spirit that is lacking in the take-out pizza, that can be fun on an occasional night, but which is just depressing on a holiday.
Yeah, though, i understand your dilemma, having come myself from a very manipulative family. But i have to ask, why is it ok for others to threaten not to talk to you if you don't participate in this anti-christmas, and it's not ok for you to not talk to them for having voted for it??!!
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #16 of 29
I agree, Siduri. It's about the experience, not just the food. In fact, I make sure that my meals are all an experience, not stuffed down in front of the tv or slurped while driving. Unfortunately, the new buzz word in food these days (in the US) is "portable".

Part of the reason Christmas dinner is important is because of the experience surrounding it. We light candles, decorate lavishly, get together as familes, follow little traditions. Why have all of that without applying it to the food as well.
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
I could make the dinner portable by having finger foods instead of soup, but no one really wanted that. The maid-rite idea is better than the pizza idea. I just hope that if I make a few fancy little things as appetizers people won't yell too much.
post #18 of 29
:eek: ok!
*drool* *drool*

dan
post #19 of 29
Hi Stephanie :)

I could certainly understand your disappointment. We always have a large (ok...way too large dinner for all Holidays). But I would urge you to stop your sulking.

There could be many reasons why a family may choose this option. Your family may not be looking at this dinner the same way you are. It appears that your looking at this dinner as a gift (from and of yourself) to your family. Which is why you may feel slighted. But maybe they just want everyone to spend more time together, without (what they may view as) the stress of cooking a large Holiday meal.

If you make an appetizer, I would urge you to do it for the right reasons. Make the appetizer to share a piece of yourself with your family. Don't make it to show them what their missing. Make it as any gift should be...an unconditional offering of love. May they like it or not isn't as much concern.

and please...enjoy the holidays!
dan
post #20 of 29
what is Maid Rite?
post #21 of 29
Stephanie-
Much condolences! (is your family open to homemade pizza? Make up a big batch of dough and have the family help top them.... just a thought??) The easiest and most requested item my family requests for appetizers is smoked salmon dip- cream cheese, pesto, flaked smoked salmon, salt and pepper; on some delicious crackers (I usually make my own pesto and smoked salmon, but...)
I actually have the opposite problem...... as the ONLY one in my family that can cook (my mom and sister think that "cooking" means pull out the Costco frozen food, thaw and heat- my father and brother-in-law have learned to cope). So I am expected to cook EVERYTHING! Everyone looks forward to holiday meals (or even just coming to my house to visit) because it means REAL food!! I guess there has to be a balance..... because as much as I love to cook, having a little time off during a holiday would be fun too! Why are people too intimidated to cook for chefs? I have heard more people claim they wouldn't even try to cook for a chef. I think that would be one of the nicest things- a meal at home that you didn't have to cook yourself! (bonus points if they do the dishes for you afterwards too!) Try putting THAT on the Christmas list..... haha
:bounce:
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Bon Vive' !
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post #22 of 29
Maid-Rite is a "loose meat" sandwich. The ground beef is sauteed and seasoned, then served (without a sauce) on a bun.

http://www.maid-rite.com/

It's a Midwestern U.S. invention.
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post #23 of 29
Stephanie,

Maybe you'll get lucky and Godfather's will be closed on Christmas Day!!

My story is about pizza too. For the last 30 years we've been meeting at my in-laws house for Pizza (my first wife died 17 yrs ago, but that's still where we go) on Christmas Eve. My FIL was Italian, and he had a "special" pizza recipe. Grandma would spend all day making, raising and rolling the dough. My sisters-in-law would help make the sauce, chop vegetables, grate cheeses etc. Grandpa would sit in front of the oven and babysit the pans of various topped pizzas that all the grandkids couldn't wait to get too. I was sort of banished from the kitchen since I was not part of the orginal family, just a son-in-law. Well, Grandpa died last Christmas, Grandma sold the house, so I volunteered to have the annual pizza dinner at my house. I unfortunately am not a skilled dough maker, and prefer to buy "dough balls" from an outstanding New York style hole-in-the wall pizzeria that tastes fabulous. I did promise to stick with the original sauce recipe and will probably have to let my sisters-and-brothers in law in my kitchen to show me how to make the stuff. It will be a lot of fun, and my sons have never known anything else on Christmas eve, that is our tradition. My boys love my grilled pizzas with fontina and non-ordinary toppings, but I would never think of breaking the Christmas Even traditional for them, and will try and get them in the kitchen to learn the "recipe" to carry on this family tradition.

Don't know why I'm rambling, it was interesting reading about some of your traditions, and got me to thinking about what happens, as in my case, where circurmstances change the only pattern your family has known for so many years.

H.
post #24 of 29
If I could play devil's advocate for a moment...

First of all, I'm in charge of Christmas dinner this year, and it'll all be made from scratch: roasted prime rib, roasted corn on the cob, yorkshire pudding, some kind of pie or galette, maybe grilled mushrooms, and a simple salad. Note that prep time (excluding the pie, which will be made the day before) is pretty much zero, cooking time is a few unattended hours, and stress is at a minimum.

It's Christmas, after all. I don't want to spend every waking hour in the kitchen fiddling around with complicated, fussy recipes and blowing a gasket trying to get them all to come out at the same time. I want to enjoy the time with my family. Yeah, it's nice to have a good meal at the end of the day, but frankly, I'd be just as happy with Little Caesars delivery and my kids.

I'm going to suggest that maybe that's what your family had in mind when they opted for pizza - more family time, without one or more members of the family chained to the stove for hours on end.

Just a thought. Maybe they really are just palate-dead knuckle draggers. But I don't know them.

In any case: you can always eat. You can always make a good meal. Typically, in today's culture, you can only get together with your family on rare occasions. Enjoy them and their company, choke down the pizza like any honored guest should, and maybe toss them a spectacular - but pre-made, maintenance-free - dessert.

Just my $0.02.
post #25 of 29
One of the most fun things to do with the members of my family who like to cook is to cook the meal together. It's not one person chained to the stove, but a group of people chatting, prepping, chatting, cooking, chatting... and then sitting down together to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

I had a boyfriend who liked to cook and we enjoyed our kitchen time so much. The relationship failed, but those kitchen memories are fond ones.
post #26 of 29
Henry-
That is so cool! Family traditions are very important! Keep your kids in it- write down those "secret" recipes! Those are the things that make holidays so special that get lost when older members pass away. Merry Christmas!! Enjoy a slice for us!!!
J
Bon Vive' !
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Bon Vive' !
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post #27 of 29
I agree. I'm trying to see it from the other family member's point of view, though.
post #28 of 29
I have often found that the best way to make people aware of the difference in food prepared with love and that of the packaged chain-store variety is to cook them the real, fresh version of what they familiar with.
One friend who I dreaded the thought of having to dinner because of his unadventurous pallet is now a competent cook in his own right, all inspired by the first meal that I gave him. I prepared a simple menu of aged grilled rib eye with “proper” fries and salad. With an “unthreatening” plate he was able to relax and appreciate the difference in a meal prepared with good organic beef, crisp maris pier potatoes and an assortment of well-dressed leaves. He appreciated what he ate because he had a (inferior) food memory to compare it with whereas if I had presented something more complex and unfamiliar he would have been on the defence from the first bite.
The barriers to eating good food often come from unfamiliarity with ingredients or concepts. How about presenting your family with an appetiser selection based on what they like to eat (pizza etc.) but made with top quality ingredients or go the whole way and cook the pizza yourself?

(This is my first time on the forum so hi to all :beer: Cheers !)
"It's only food"
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"It's only food"
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post #29 of 29
Hey rocket- welcome to the clan!

So Stephanie- how did your Christmas turn out??
Bon Vive' !
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Bon Vive' !
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