Coffee with Mimi: The peace and quiet group

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2016

By Mimi Becker

Contributing writer

Depending on your stage in life, by the time you read this column, you may have either collapsed under the sheer weight of little children’s excitement or you will be enjoying a reflective peace and quiet.  You may be somewhere in between. 

It’s Christmas morning and honestly, I’m comfortable admitting that we are in the peace and quiet group.  I love my granddaughter beyond all measures. But, there comes a time and a season when you realize chaos belongs to the younger generation.  At least for a day.

My husband and I will be basking in the glow of the tree lights, drinking coffee still dressed in our housecoats. There will be no swirls of torn wrapping paper lying about or noisy and unexpected mechanical items running hazardously through the house causing grave concern for bodily safety. 

Don’t feel sad for us.  We won’t be two forgotten senior citizens.  We will have an adult child and other adult family members over for a late brunch.  There won’t be gifts to organize or schedules to keep an eye on.   We won’t need to worry about getting somewhere else.

My brunch menu is the easiest meal for entertaining.  We will have Danville Band grapefruit, bacon, eggs, biscuits, juice, coffee and scones. And, because, I love them, maybe grits.  Done.

Before I get too comfy, however, some thought needs to go into the evening dinner if this blissfully quiet day is to end festively as is expected. 

You may remember that my family has a succession of events around this time of year.  There is the family gathering of the siblings, a daughter’s birthday, the granddaughter’s birthday and family coming and going. We always put great thought into the food associated with these special celebrations.  The menus are planned, detailed shopping is completed for each recipe, and everyone wants to do something special.

My son has made eggnog from scratch.  If you pass judgment based on the cardboard carton variety from the store, you would be really wrong.  Homemade eggnog is heaven in a cup.  My husband has prepared standing rib roast complete with the little frilly hats.  Yes, we have even prepared ravioli ourselves.  All breakfasts must have pancakes or waffles and bacon and eggs.  And, so it goes. 

We have wonderful food, much discussed, sometimes happily complicated food.  The dishwasher runs multiple times each day.  Some years this has gone on for up to a week.  We go here and there with food.  It has been special. 

But, this year, there won’t be a single major meal at our house.  No mountains of leftovers crammed into the fridge. 

My brunch doesn’t stack up as a production meal.  Most breakfast foods don’t do well as leftovers anyway. I am taking desserts to the family gathering, so nothing of substance coming home from them. 

Grocery shopping will be focused, but simple and quick.  No odd or interesting items to search for all over town.  No need for nibbles just in case people hang around the kitchen while the main attraction is being orchestrated.

A somewhat similar year occurred a while back.  For reasons which don’t immediately come to mind, we arrived at Christmas evening with no actual place to be, or go.  We had cooked and eaten and visited.  Just not at our house.  When I say the cupboard and the fridge were bare, I’m exaggerating.  But, there was no interesting food stuff.  Nothing that wouldn’t require hours to prepare and additional shopping to make edible.  Christmas Day dinner was not on the list or in the planning.  It definitely wasn’t turning into a social occasion.

We will enjoy a peaceful and quiet Christmas Day at home, but we do want to celebrate!  We may not feel compelled to cook a complicated evening meal, but I most certainly need a plan.  The year mentioned above stands out vividly in my mind.

With all scheduled family events over, the question of “What’s for dinner?” was answered by, “I have absolutely no idea.” 

Not to worry, it’s the modern era.  Cozy and festive restaurants will be open.  No, they won’t be.  The true Christmas spirit was alive and well in Danville.  Employees deserved a day off.  Nothing was open.  Well, almost.   We did find lights on, and staff available, in one establishment.  I felt we were infringing on what should have been their day off.  It wasn’t enjoyable.  Not the Christmas dinner from “A Christmas Story”.  Remember the hilarious Chop Suey Palace scene?  This wasn’t that.

As I write this, I’m making mental lists.  What will be for Christmas dinner?  No matter what, it should be special.  It will be uncomplicated, but worthy of the day and the participants.