Saturday, October 13, 2007

Christmas dinner 2004

For the 3rd time in 2 days I have been reminded of my Christmas dinner of 2004. This is a story about how naive I can be about things. Even about things that include food. Ready for this?

Christmas day dinner is always at my house. Christmas Eve is at my mom and dad's. Thanksgiving was always at my sister's until she moved to South Carolina, sniff. And Easter is at my brother's. Ok, now for Christmas dinner we usually have the same thing(s.) When you arrive, there is an assortment of cookies, normally one dip of some kind, bacon crisps (take a saltine cracker, place a t. of parmesan cheese on the cracker, wrap it in a half slice of bacon and bake in the oven 250 degrees for 2 hours or 350 for 40 minutes, easy peasy and good as all get out!) and homemade eggnog. For dinner I make sauce and usually ravioli. I also make a ham, typically. And we always have bacon-wrapped asparagus, shrimp stuffed twice baked potatoes and a salad. Now keep in mind there's usually 16 people or more eating dinner. Sounds like a lot but I like for people to take things home.

The Christmas of 2004 I decided I wanted to change things up a bit. Instead of a ham I wanted some kind of beef. I read this recipe and thought Geez Louise does that sound good. It was a lobster-stuffed beef tenderloin with Bearnaise sauce. I decided to omit the Bearnaise sauce. That's just extra money I didn't need to spend on Vermouth and whatnot. (Really chuckling here cause I know the rest of the story!) I contacted Brittner's Smokehouse where I buy my ham and asked if they could order me a tenderloin. Based on the recipe and the amount of servings it was suggesting, I figured I needed a tenderloin at least 8 pounds. They explained that they couldn't guarantee 8 pounds. It might end up being around 9. What's the difference I thought. I asked them to butterfly it for me. No problem they said. Sounding very cheerful on the other end. How nice, I thought.

Then I went shopping for the rest of the ingredients. It called for shallots, pancetta, garlic and lobster meat. I found flash-frozen tail meat in the seafood department of the Giant Eagle where I shop. Even buying 2 packages was cheaper than buying whole lobsters and a heck of a lot easier. Again, I thought I was being frugal. Little did I know. I sent Kenny to pick up the tenderloin on December 23. Good thing he was carrying extra cash. See I never thought to get a price. I just ordered it. The ham is usually around 50 bucks so I figured it would be about the same. Now let me explain something to you right now that you probably already know. I had NO idea that beef tenderloin=filet mignon. I told Kenny he needed to pick up "the beef" and off he went. When he arrived he told them our last name and they said they would be back with our filet mignon. His head started spinning cause he knew the weight I ordered.

He came home carrying this GARGANTUAN piece of meat and told me that I was never allowed to order beef again, but laughing at the same time. It had to be at least 2 feet wide and I said what is that? He said the filet mignon you ordered! I said no I didn't. I ordered a beef tenderloin. He said it's the same thing! Oh no, no, no, no, no, I said. What am I going to do?? My father takes one look at that and he's going to kill me. No one buys a 9 pound filet mignon!! I was in full panic mode. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh no, no, no. I could hear him already. Why would you spend that amount of money?? You're crazy. That's ridiculous. Maybe he won't notice, I thought. I hoped. I prayed.

Christmas morning arrives and I start cooking. My parents arrive sometime after 12 and my mom comes in the kitchen. What is that?? I ssh'd her and told her to keep her voice down, Daddy will hear you. I explained that I didn't know it was the same thing and she started laughing. He's going to know, you know. She told me. I sighed and meekly said, I know. My father comes into the kitchen and spies this HUGE piece of beef on my counter, immediately knowing what it was and said Oh Julie! How much did you spend? I lied. I told him $55. He said $55 my ass. How much?? $94, head hung low and shifting my weight from one trembling foot to another. Why would you spend that much money? You had a million gifts to buy and you spent almost a hundred bucks on beef?? I re-explained the story for, let's see...the 3rd time. He laughed, shaking his head. See fortunately, my family knows me. I'm not too swift on a lot of matters. Anyway, it was Christmas! If you're going to splurge, might as well do it then. Dinner was delicious if I do say so myself. Later that evening I found $40 in the pocket of my apron. I don't know if it came from my mom or my dad. They're good people!

So when my cousin was over the other night he commented that that meal was the best he has ever had. Ever! And he just got back from Italy, so I'm feeling pretty proud now. Then last night Kenny and Austin were talking about it again. Jesse chimed in oh yeah. That was SOO good. And this morning I read a story that made me think of it again. Kenny did say, hey - if we put a little money aside for the next few paychecks we can have it again this year. But we have to start saving now. I guess they like my food and to Kenny it's worth it to save up and eat really really well. The End!

37 comments:

Alexandra, Writing & Baking Enthusiast said...

I don't know how I've missed three of your posts! Oh,the filet mignon story is sweet. I did not know the two were the same. I wouldn't even know how many pounds for how many people...now if it were a cake...:)
Hope you're having a good weekend. The cookie recipe looks fantabuloso!!
Alexandra

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Goodness! Well I'd say for the laughs it brought alone it was worth the $.
My mouth is watering...

Anita said...

Wow! lol... Great story... At least it was a memorable meal!

Anita said...

And again, your music... love love LOVE Frankie! (and Christmas songs... I was whistling one the other day, and Rick gave me a look like "Don't start that yet!!"...LOL)

Marilyn said...

That meal sounds very memorable! The expense of a meal is what usually puts the brakes on me fixing it again. I usually substitute pork tenderloin for the beef tenderloin because of the expense. I can't afford filet mignon, either. But with everyone raving about the meal, it would be worth saving now for a grand reviews like that!!!! Gotta love family!!!!!
By the way, how much did you save by omitting the bearnaise sauce???? LOL That's definitely something I would do and for the exact same reason. This whole story sounded like deja vu.

Kristen said...

MY goodness, you never fail to make me extremely hungry here! YUMMMMMM is all I can say.... YUMMMMM>

Terri and Bob said...

COOOOOL story! It was fun to read how sweet everyone was... my family would be teasing me from now to the end of my days... the last thing I would hear on this earth would be... when you get to heaven, don't forget the filet!

Michelle said...

That is the best story! Thank you for sharing. I think it sounds delicious and you definitely have sweet parents :)

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Oh Julie, I loved the part about you finding the $40.00 in your pocket.

BittersweetPunkin said...

Julie I loved your story!That was so sweet that you "found" an extra $40. Your wonderful family is a blessing indeed!
Love, Robin

rosemary said...

Good laugh.....i have no talent other than cleaning....the last time we had Christmas here I made a ham and a turkey....I managed to leave the little plastic/paper pad under the ham.....only one person saw it and swore not to ever tell....which she did the moment everyone sat down.

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

Loved that story. You can cook for me any time.

$40.00 in tour pocket...how nice!
DebraK

justabeachkat said...

I guess no one in your family will ever let you forget that meal. It sounds wonderful. Hey, it WAS christmas and you want it to be special and memorable. So voila! You did!

Hugs!
Kat

Entertainment at Nunnie's Attic said...

Just to clear things up. It was Daddy who left the $40.00.

Love, Mommy

Counting Your Blessings said...

You've started a new tradition! And it sounds amazing!! Blessings... Polly

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

My husband would adore you. He thinks that what you spend on food doesn't count, you should never budget!! I'd rather eat a granola bar and spend the money out at estate sales.

But Christmas dinner is a great time to splurge and always worth every penny!

jbrealtor said...

Every Christmas Eve I cook a tenderloin, some Italian food (lasagne, manicotti, whatever I feel like) and all the sides, plus a couple of desserts for the extended family of 17. We do this as our gift for the holiday and everyone looks forward to the "party" all year long. Makes me feel good that I can do something that makes everyone so happy for Christmas. P.S. I am saving for the beef already :o).
Janet

FarmHouse Style said...

Oh Julie, that sounds sooo much like something I would do!!!LOL!!

It sounds like it was quite a hit though.

OK, so I will need directions to your house and what time did you say dinner would be served;)

Rhonda

Rosemary said...

Julie,
That was a great story. I knew what you were going to say before you said it. I'm sure it was so great!! I love beef tenderloin.
Thanks for sharing,
Rosemary

joan said...

Julie,
That's a great story! It's one of those stories that will be told for years. You must be a great cook! I love your stories! Have a great weekend!

Scrappy Moments said...

Great Story, Sounds like it holds alot of Memories :)
The food sounds so yummy!


Angie
www.scrapnmomsmoments.blogspot.com

Linda said...

Oh Julie what a forever cherished memory, it is so funny but very sweet too. Your parents are loves!
Linda

Kari & Kijsa said...

Okay....we would have no idea on meat either....we were impressed that you were calling somewhere and ordering meat...

About the pumpkins...guilding them (or really doing anything to them) as long as you don't puncture the skin has very little effect on their longetivity....it would be the same as if you bought the pumpkin and left it sitting on your table. And girl....you know you can always ask us!

smiles, kari and kijsa

BellaColle said...

Okay, you know what! we are just comin' over this Christmas!! LOL
!!At least you didn't leave the gizzard pack inside the turkey like my sister in law!!! Your family sounds soo sweet!

Michelle E. ~ Vintage Pastiche' said...

I came here and had a huge smile because of the stories and the music! You are getting me in the spirit! :)

I gave you an award today, you can stop by and pick it up. :)

*muah*
Michelle

Cece said...

You're so hard on yourself Julie! That is absolutely a mistake I would make too! I'm a vegetarian so I have a really hard time with meat. I was hosting Thanksgiving for the first time and had to prepare the turkey. I just couldn't handle it and started crying so my husband had to do it. The next year, our 2nd Thanksgiving, I decided to buy a already prepared turkey, I ordered it a week ahead, same thing as you, I did not ask the price. The darn turkey was $60 and only for 3 people to eat it! ooops!
Cece

Cottage by the River said...

Very funny story, that sound like somthing I would do. I honestly don't think I realized the two meats were the same thing. I go to our local butcher and order all this stuff and then he tells me the final total! I look forward to reading your blog everyday.
Bristol

Super Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Super Mom said...

Did you have lots left over? Two feet wide! My goodness!

I am going to try that recipe, I think.

Mary said...

Oh, Julie, what a funny story! Your family sounds wonderful, and I am once again drooling at the thought of your cooking!

Have a great weekend!
xoxo,
Mary

Alice said...

It really is a most wonderful cut of meat and it sounds as though you prepared it perfectly. I always have to laugh when TV cooks recommend tenderloin for making sandwiches. Obviously they've never had to pay for one.

Emilie said...

Oh my gosh!!! This story was hilarious! I really bet that beef tenderloin was good, with the lobster and pancetta.
I could sense what what coming, earlier in the story. Did you have enough for leftovers?

I like the idea of you guys dividing up your holidays. That's a good idea. And the cookies, bacon wrapped crackers, and fresh eggnog sound good. I love eggnog. Here's a tip: Grate fresh nutmeg into your eggnog. It will be much more fragrant and spicier than the already ground stuff.

Nunnie's Attic said...

Barbara (Super Mom) and Emilie - there was not one slice of it left. Vultures I tell ya!

Love,
Julie

restyled home said...

What a wonderful story...and it does sound delicious!! Don't be embarassed, though. The first time I ever ordered filet mignon, was when I was still dating my husband. We had sewn some curtains for a hotel my sister managed at the time (if you knew me, you'd really be laughing...I am a TERRIBLE sewer, but it was nepotism after all) and we got paid $100 for ten pairs hemmed. Well, we decided to go to a FANCY restaurant and I ordered Filet Mignon, not knowing anything about it (I come from a family of six children, SAHM, 'nuff said). I hate fatty meat, so when I ordered it, I asked the waitress, "Is it LEAN?"" Well, hubby just started chuckling quietly, and the waitress couldn't contain her laughter (snot face!!) and she condescendingly explained what it was. Yeah, a tad embarrassing!!!
So don't feel bad...at least you were among family...!!!!!

p.s. I love the Christmas music!!!

Linda

Flea Market Queen said...

Julie...I didn't know that they were one & the same either...
Too funny!
Thanks for the lesson...
Priscilla

From the Doghouse said...

What impressed me the most is that, in the midst of having that many curveballs thrown at you, and the pressure of working with a $100 slab of beef, you nailed it! I'd have been scared to death I'd screw it up and serve a two-foot piece of charcoal.

gina said...

Wow, that is a great story! And your dad sounds exactly like mine. He would have said the exact same thing "$55 my ass!" LOL. I love it! Funny how we'll splurge on food without a second thought, though, isn't it? Is it an Italian thing? Great story, Julie!