A Christmas Dinner to Remember
One of my favorite Christmas Traditions is our midnight Turkey. Yes, I know it sounds crazy. But when Christmas Day is coming to an end; when most people can barely tolerate another walnut, and are finally resting their heads, our table is being set for the first carving of a slow roast turkey. Oh we had dinner. There was Cardone soup (another tradition – I don’t even know where this one comes from…), and lasagna, and lamb and pork, breaded chicken skewers, then roast potatoes, glazed carrots, rapini, should I go on? But NO turkey, not until midnight.
Truthfully, in the last two years we haven’t celebrated the midnight Turkey because there is a new generation of very young children around, and it seems things get a little crazy before midnight. I am not sure how my parents did it with us. It seemed it didn’t matter whose home we were in or how late it was, we always managed to stay up and keep ourselves occupied until midnight. It was so exciting staying up late. Even more exciting was playing cards or bingo, and winning at least $5 dollars of my grandfathers change. I looked forward to this, so much so, that when December was nearing, I started gathering all loose change in a jar, so that I would be ready to play til the wee hours.
And while we sat waiting for the clock to strike twelve, we talked and laughed and sometimes even cried. There was always a story to be told. We ate prickly pears, clementines and fresh anice (finocchio), I remember this so clearly. My mother always running in to put more of something on the table. While others decided a nap or some TV time would probably be a better use of time. My brother would pull out a favorite movie from the archives and pop it into the VCR. (Remember those?) There was never enough room on the sofa so you would pick a spot on the floor, grab a pillow and watch, while chestnuts roasted in the fireplace.
There were some non believers. People who thought, “there is no way they are eating their turkey at midnight!” And every once in a while we were put to the test. Friends and family making their way home from their very own Christmas Day celebrations, stopping in at 11pm just to see if we were still up and waiting for the turkey to make an appearance. I remember the look on their faces when out she came onto the table, and she wasn’t alone. She brought stuffing and gravy, and all the leftover sides from a few hours earlier. And if the table looked a little light, it quickly filled up. With bread, cheese, olives and jars of pickled peppers, mushrooms and salad. And so we ate, again, until this time we really couldn’t move. And after we’ve said our goodbyes, Christmas is over.
So how did this tradition start you ask? Well, way back when.. I guess before I was even born, someone hosted a Christmas Dinner at their home. And there was Cardone Soup, and lamb and pork, breaded chicken skewers, then roast potatoes, glazed carrots, rapini, should I go on? But NO turkey, not until midnight… when they found it.
Hope you are having a wonderful Holiday
May you celebrate in old traditions and delight in making some new ones!