This impromptu, unofficial Friday Fiction is hosted by Mari on her blog, A Mari Heart. We were all going to take the holiday weekend off, but decided we really had the urge to post some Christmasy fiction. After all, it’s Christmas Eve!
When I first started participating in the Faithwriters Weekly Writing Challenge, there were only a few weeks before the final quarter of 2008. At that time, the themes were all based on the Christmas Holiday. The third week of the quarter was my first placement in this theme, with this partly humorous take on the Holiday Meal.
Merry Christmas, and may your holiday meal be at least as fun as this was to write.
REAL Man Christmas Dinner
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not Recipes)
Challenge Entry, Week of October 16, 2008
2nd Place, Advanced Level; #3 in Editor’s Choice
We, the Responsible, Evangelical, America-Loving men of this country, do hereby promote the following directions for the REAL Man Christmas dinner preparation.
Whereas many might believe cooking to be “womanly”, we REAL Men recognize that the roasting of meat over flame is a very manly thing to do. Therefore, it stands to reason that REAL Men will cook the Christmas turkey over flames.
Real flames, fueled by charcoal; if you’re going to cook over gas flames, just cook it in the house. While this tends to work better in locations where you don’t need to tunnel through snow to get to your barbecue grill, many of the principles herein can still apply. Adapt; improvise; overcome. After all, we are REAL Men.
REAL Men also understand that our wives, whom God has given to us as precious gifts and helpmates, should not have to remain enslaved in the kitchen all day on Christmas while we play with all the cool toys we got that morning, like the ultra-spiffy radio controlled tank with laser sights and real shooting cannon and KA-BLAM! Take that, you mangy cat!
Ahem. Where was I? Ah, yes; our wives should not have to be enslaved in the kitchen all day while we play with our toys. They should have a chance to terrorize the cat with the radio controlled tank, too. What could be more fun than that?
The turkey should be cooked over indirect heat on the barbecue, with the coals banked to either side of the bird, and a drip-pan partially filled with water and aromatic herbs beneath it. The beauty of this, men, is we need only check on the barbecue infrequently, adding charcoal as necessary to maintain the heat. Using a spray bottle to bathe the turkey in apple juice during cooking will produce a crispy, golden-brown skin which will impress the daylights out of your guests, and also tastes mighty good. In the meantime, where’d that cat go? To a man with a tank, every cat looks like a target.
When the turkey is partially done, place foil-wrapped sweet potatoes on the grill over the coals.
No, don’t put the little marshmallows on the sweet potatoes before cooking. Yes, I know how much you like those crispy little marshmallows. Look; just trust me, okay? Bake the sweet potatoes on the grill, without additives. Open them hot, put real butter on them and some pumpkin pie spice, and they don’t need marshmallows. We’re already going to need weeks at the gym to work this feast off as it is, and, dude, that spare tire is starting to look like a full-sized 4 by 4 off-road knobby, know what I mean?
Now that the sweet potatoes are cooking we can (hey, put the tank away; we have work to do) get the rest of the side dishes cooking. This is where we will demonstrate our skills in the conventional kitchen, though it’s certainly not unmanly to invite your wife to help out if you so desire, so you don’t end up ruining the microwave by putting the metal saucepan into it.
Yeah, I know it looks real cool to nuke a saucepan in the microwave, but guys, it’s Christmas. Be serious for a moment, okay? Your wife will appreciate it, trust me. Bake some rolls (the kinds from the exploding cans are okay for this), heat some veggies, dish up some cranberry sauce, and you’re the Christmas hero.
Important note here, men; don’t make a point while saying grace of mentioning that you cooked the meal. Anybody who needs to know already does, including God. If you managed to finish everything up without reducing the turkey to an oversized, odd-shaped football, He was probably smiling down on you the whole time. Heck, if you managed to light the barbecue without removing your eyebrows, it’s clear He was watching over you.
Final secret: Always arrange to have someone else bring the pies. You’ve cooked the turkey, the sweet potatoes (would you forget about the marshmallows already?), and the other stuff. Most people are relieved when all they have to bring is a pie. They can buy them from the store, and not feel guilty that you did everything else.
Best of all, you made it look like the coal in your stocking was a good thing.
(No cats were harmed or harassed in the writing of this entry, though a few got fat on leftover turkey)