The holidays were a little difficult for Michael this year because he didn’t get to do that much cooking; it was the first time in years, for example, that he hasn’t cooked the Thanksgiving turkey, and he was duly despondent. Christmas Eve came along, and there too he was shut out of most of the proceedings because his younger brother and sister wanted to take the reins for the post-Mass feast of several fishes, which I think initially unsettled him–the prospect of having to share a kitchen with his siblings was one that never before had crossed his mind.
Typical oldest brother mindset, if you ask me.
Happily, he settled into playing the role of supportive sous during Christmas Eve afternoon, and we both helped out D on his quest to make some more daring fare than what I would imagine you’d find at a traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes meal: shrimp pad thai that he would make for himself often while he lived for a semester in Pittsburgh and a grilled tuna roll from Ina Garten that sounded pretty good and tasted even better. Michael’s sister G contributed with some wonderfully simple garlic-butter shrimp, and my father-in-law made his traditional oyster stew that, with a few dashes of hot sauce, I could not stop eating–and I don’t think it was because I was famished following a rather long Christmas Eve Mass service, either.
It was easily one of the most unconventional meals I’ve had in a while, but one I will beg Michael to tinker with (perhaps subbing in good Italian tuna for the grilled stuff for the tuna rolls?) that we can enjoy again and again…especially as it will put Michael back into the central location of his power: his kitchen.