Happy Holidays! It’s a time to get together with family, many of whom come from different backgrounds and experiences. “But didn’t you grow up altogether?” you may ask. Yes. Yes, we did. I know what I said. The holidays are a time when your family’s quirks, which you may have blocked out, are brought to the forefront like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloon. Much like the balloon, you know the quirks exist, but you kind of forget about them until Thanksgiving rolls around. I know you love your family. I do too. You’d do anything for them and they for you, but you may find yourself wondering how you, yourself turned out so well and normal when faced with these quirks, which you hope are not genetic. It’s both easier and harder to deal with family by marriage quirks because you have the relief of knowing it can’t be genetic for yourself, but still, worry that your kids might exhibit future quirkiness. In these cases, you need something to take the edge off a bit. This is where the side dish you brought…alcohol…can be helpful.
Because the holidays are a time when people from different backgrounds come together, you might find yourself at the table with your vegan cousin and aunt, along with your deer hunting brother. A friendly discussion might start about the values of not eating meat versus the hunting to keep the deer population down. Both parties agree. Things are going great, but you know how these things usually end up. It’s ok, though, because you have your trusty side dish. Things get a little dicey when your brother pulls out a picture of various deceased animals, including a stuffed beaver. You might imagine how that conversation goes, and my friend…..you would be right. “I vacuum that beaver every day,” was the final word of that conversation.
The holidays are also a time to learn new things, maybe things you didn’t want to know about. After yesterday’s family gathering, I learned that the only rodent who grows and grows is the beaver. “Have you ever seen a fifty-pound squirrel? Have you ever seen a twenty-pound mouse? No. No, you haven’t,” I was told. Because I was actively partaking in my side dish, I can’t recall the exact point, but I think it was to point out why it’s ok to hunt beavers. Or vacuum them. Or have one as a pet….I don’t exactly know, but I do know that the conversation was made more bearable by my side dish.
One of my family’s quirks on my husband’s side of the family is that they don’t believe in expiration dates. Early in the marriage, I learned this the hard way, and now scrupulously check each date on products that are brought out for my consumption. Sometimes, wrappers are thrown away, which makes things tricky. Once, the year 2010 was changed to 2018 with a black sharpie. This is honest to God true story. This Thanksgiving eve, I made a rookie mistake and forgot my side dish. A family member offered to make me one. As I was enjoying it, I heard my mother in law call from the living room “OH! I didn’t know we had any triple sec! You must have dug deep to find that! Haha!” My sister in law and I peered into our drink and noticed the alcohol was separating. “I thought that only happened with oil and water,” she hissed in a scared whisper. I nodded solemnly. This is why it is important to bring your own side dish consistently.
Make the holidays easier on everyone and bring your own side dish to share. Recipes follow:
You Can’t Kill me This Year Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce raspberry liqueur (check expiration date first!!!!!)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice (ensure lemon is still yellow)
Add everything together with ice and shake. Pour into a glass with a sugared rim (sugar from the current year only), and fresh raspberries)
Maker’s Mark Manhattan
2 parts Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon
1 part sweet vermouth
2 dashes aromatic bitters
Cherry for garnish