So here we are. Newly married, and trying to figure out how to balance the holidays. Some time spent just to ourselves as a couple, and how much time to spend with his parents. (My parents are currently in another country… so I’m guessing that’s not as easy to just spend a dinner or a weekend with.)
Christmas Eve, I went over to his parents’ house to have Hot Pot (it’s where you have a hot boiling pot of soup in the middle of the table, and you cook different things in it. It’s a very Asian get-together, family style of eating.)
On Christmas Day, we invited his parents over to our apartment to have Christmas dinner. This was our menu (for 4 people):
Turkey (in a soy-sauce based marinate, play on an Asian dish)
Green Beans with Garlic
Corn and Potato Chowder
Cranberry Sauce (which happened to be the hardest thing to find and buy)
Red Bean Soup (a traditional Asian dish)
So as the food was cooking, I started cleaning. Our house isn’t messy, but I was stressed about the potential “inspection”. I’ve heard my mother-in-law previously talk about other women about being “princesses” when they don’t help clean or cook in the house.
So I start cleaning, I vacuum, I Windex every surface available to mankind in my house. The media center, the cabinet top (and doors and corners and edges), all the windows, the surface of our coffee tables (3) which all have glass surfaces, all the mirrors in both bathrooms. And the mirrors are HUGE. I kept having to switch hands because I’d cover a corner and my arm would be sore. I also windexed the faucet heads (They are metal and can get water stains, so it’s good to windex those, too.) Of course, you may think that I’m windexing with a towel or rag. BUT NO! That will definitely leave lint. Or you may assume I’m using the lint-less rags. Nope. I’m going hardcore.
NEWSPAPER! No lint, pulls off the oils, and works wonders cleaning windows and mirrors and any of those surfaces that need to be left glistening!
My place is clean, but I realized we didn’t really have festive decorations, so I tried to use the vases and ornaments the best I could, and concocted a few centerpieces. Luckily, I still had the bouquet that my husband got me for our first month anniversary (and it was still alive, despite me forgetting to feed it the “flower food” it came with). I had a few decorative items that I brought with me from Philadelphia that were used in the Philadelphia wedding. Perfect.
Times up! It’s 5pm. But they aren’t here yet. It’s 5:30pm, and they still aren’t here yet. Apparently, they wanted to give us “a few extra minutes” because they were worried we wouldn’t be ready by 5pm yet. That’s pretty thoughtful, although I’m pretty punctual when I cook, so I’m watching the food get cold as I start reheating everything in the oven and microwave.
My husband comes out and sees that I’m reheating the food and plating them and setting them on the dining table. He informs me that most dinner guests don’t immediately seat and have dinner. We usually serve a cocktail or a drink or some snacks, and then about 30 minutes after arrival, then the meal starts.
OMG. I did not know this! Now I have no idea what to do, because I just reheated everything and put it out. So I will have to reheat everything a second time… is that bad? There is probably something chemically that is happening after so many rounds of heating and reheating and nuking… Is this a suburban thing? Maybe it’s just a house thing… since I’m only emulating what I know, which is observed in restaurants, which is: Go in, sit down, order to eat.
Anyhow, that’s exactly what happened. We sat down and chatted and served some cocktails and wine. And then later got seated. Thankfully, no one got sick or food poisoning, so the reheating must have been okay… at least this time.
Whew. My first time “hosting” Christmas dinner for the in-laws. Didn’t go so bad… I think…