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I’m still recovering. Yesterday was probably the most memorable Christmas of my life. I take it back, all those bad things I’ve been saying about the holiday season. This was fabulous, utterly.

For the last 28 years I’ve been the Christmas engine in this house, overseeing the gifting and feasting for the five of us. It is exhausting and stressful. But this year it was completely different. I was the one who was gifted and feasted, almost embarrassingly so.

Earlier this year we decided as a family to follow the lead of our good friends Kathryn and Andrew Kimball and their six adult children. For some time now they have been celebrating Christmas in a simple fashion, with family members gifting one book or one CD/DVD to each other. This tradition is appealing on so many levels, not the least of which is its elegant leveling and admirable thrift. So like a lot of other “don’t call it a Depression, it’s only a Recession” Americans, we opted to spend our money on groceries rather than gifts.

Or so I thought. But I was trumped royally come Christmas morning. My children and husband all pitched in and broke the book/CD rule to buy me the object of my long time technolust (repressed though I thought my longing was)–a brand new spanking fabulous much needed since I’m ready to kill my piece of shit PC elegant iMac. I was completely surprised, surprised and stunned. Once the wrapping was off and I realized the box was not a vehicle to harbor some smaller gift, I broke out in tears. This was as close to magical wish fulfillment as I’ve ever known.


And then came the 11 (yes, that’s 10 plus one, eleven) course meal all prepared by my children. I am in awe of what they pulled off. It was spectacular, one dish after another. We started this marathon feast around 2 and it was still going strong at 8pm. I didn’t want the evening to end.

Christmas feast 2008

If you are a foodie, read on.

Here’s their menu, verbatim (they’re funny as well as great cooks):

Season’s Eatings
Christmas Feast

Oyster Trifecta
On the half shell with shallot mignonette, Butter Braised on crostini, and tempura fried with tangerine tartar sauce

Tuna Ballin’
Croquettes of oil poached tuna, whole milk ricotta, and organic russets on a bed of hydroponic watercress

Roccolo, Istaru Ossau-Iraty, Briscole al Barbera, Barchetto al Stagniato, paired with candied walnuts, truffle honey, Linden flower honey, shaved pears, and cracker assortment

Country Capa ‘Santa’
Sautéed sea scallop over braised parsnips and herb oil drizzle

Quail Eggs and Ham
Cured Spanish pork loin on baguette with poached quail egg, chipotle cream and melon

Fall of Ceasar
Deconstructed Ceasar salad with white wine boquerones and homemade herbed croutons

Hand shucked littleneck clams in creamy chowder

Butternut in My Pants
Handmade butternut squash ravioli with crispy pancetta and sage butter sauce

Fa la la Loin
Roasted beef tenderloin with horseradish cream, mushroom potato gratin and broccoli rabe

The Re-gifter
Flourless chocolate espresso cake with coffee ice cream

Terra Cotta
Earl gray infused panna cotta with a tangerine twist

Making ravioli

Plate prepping

Oysters trifecta (on the half shell served separately)

Tuna ballin’