I like to brag that I don’t spend a lot of time or money on Christmas because I don’t buy a lot of things for a lot of people. And while this is mostly true, I know the hidden cost of Christmas – at least, Christmas with me, Graham, and sometimes our friends – and although it’s my own fault, that doesn’t make it any less of a kick in the gut.
Dude, food and booze cost so fucking much. I try to console myself with the knowledge that I don’t spend on food like this at any other time of the year. I mean, I spend more than some people on food and booze for most of the year, but by “some people” I mean people with mortgages, kids, and debt. I don’t have any of those things, so I’m free to spend my disposable income as I like. And I like to spend it on food and booze, mostly, but at Christmas, the good stuff kind of hurts.
Every Christmas Eve, I cook dinner for Graham and I before we go out to meet our friends. I usually make something rich and special; last year was wine-braised short ribs with creamy Parmesan polenta. While I would rather pay more for something raised/grown/processed in a responsible/sustainable/humane way, this porchetta I bought – while amazing to look at and smell, even in its uncooked, rolled state — made me feel nauseous at the time of purchase. Nauseous. Or nauseated, whatever. I can’t even type the amount I paid for this fucking thing without being so embarrassed that I did it, and really, the only reason I’m writing about it at all is because sharing the things that trouble me truly does help to lighten my mental load, so to speak. So I can’t tell you how much, but suffice to say that it was a lot and no matter how delicious it is, I am never doing that again.
But I can’t go back now, so Christmas Eve 2013 is going down as The Most Hideously Expensive Christmas Eve Ever and Graham Better Fucking Like It and Eat Every Last Bite Because Like Hell Is Any of It Going to Waste. We’re having the porchetta, of course, and I plan on making a cranberry-balsamic reduction for it, and I’ll also make some sautéed chard and a panettone bread stuffing. Except I can’t get panettone in Seattle, apparently, at least not at any store that isn’t also hideously expensive and requiring a special trip downtown, so I’m splitting the difference and making a bootleg version with one loaf of raisin pecan bread and a loaf of brioche, plus some macerated dried fruit and a little whiskey.
Next Christmas: bologna sandwiches.