While the freezing rain poured down we bustled around the kitchen, getting a head start on New Year’s Eve preparations. Occasionally I’d check the weather forecast… it’s not looking good… but we pressed on, ever optimistic.
There have been a few years that we’ve had to cancel or postpone, including last year. Pat, Trudie & Leo were here for the countdown, but other guests came the next night. We’ve had nights when people have left halfway through the evening because of freezing rain splattering ice on the roads. It really is a ‘crap shoot’ to host an event this time of year.
The first big task was cleaning and trussing the meat. I bumbled through it last year, this time we watched some Youtubes and Carm did the slicing. I prepared the cutting board with a sprinkling of baking powder, coarsely ground salt, granulated garlic, and minced rosemary & thyme. When the meat was trimmed and tied up we rolled the beast on the board for a nice, even covering. It’s now tucked into the fridge.
A river of tears followed… 6 onions for the soup, 3 for the green bean casserole! Bacon sizzled and onions caramelized, filling the air with flavour. Instant pots lined up on the counter like three rotund R2D2’s ready to cook and render. I looked at the weather forecast.
With the casserole and soup safely tucked in the garage (a steady -2 will keep them cool), I turned towards the table. I pulled out a few tablecloths and laid some stuff out on them - which one did I like? I hemmed and hawed, asked Carm his opinion, ignored it, then whoosh, the tablecloth was laid and I started laying out the scene. I love this part of the preparations.
I stepped back to admire the sparkling candle holders and polished cutlery that glittered in the light, dispersing the gloom. A glance outside revealed trees heavy with ice, and worse still, a steady outpouring of ice pellets. If it abates I may harvest a few spruce boughs for the table, or maybe not.
There’s still stuff to do tomorrow, including the most important thing of all: keeping our fingers crossed for good weather!
“I learned from him that we should attempt a total surrender to whatever atmosphere was offering itself at the moment; in a squalid town to seek out those very places where its squalor rose to grimness and almost grandeur, on a dismal day to find the most dismal and dripping wood, on a windy day to seek the windiest ridge. There was no Betjemannic irony about it; only a serious, yet gleeful, determination to rub one's nose in the very quiddity of each thing, to rejoice in its being (so magnificently) what it was.”
~C. S. Lewis