The first year we were married my wife boldly offered to have everyone over for Christmas dinner. She was a great cook and we loved to entertain so I agreed and we worked together to plan the menu and mix the two family traditions as best we could.
We knew we had to have turkey and ham to keep both fathers happy and certain vegetables had to be cooked a certain way and the dessert had to have both Canadian and Dutch flavours. We started early the day before to prepare and we discussed who should sit where.
We discussed how to defuse potential situations and we arranged for pre-dinner snacks and made sure we had beer, rum, eggnog and Akavit, a nasty Dutch schnapps that sneaks up on you and makes you say things you wouldn’t normally say.
The evening went great and the meal was well received by all. For dessert you had a choice of traditional hot Christmas pudding with hard sauce , apple pie or slices of thick moist Christmas cake. We all ate too much.
The rest of the evening passed with games and conversations and when it was time to leave my wife packed up turkey for everyone to take home and we turned out the lights , congratulated each other and went to bed.
Boxing Day morning arrived and I slipped quietly out of bed, I turned on the TV and found a football game on and went into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. The house was quiet, the neighbourhood was quiet and I didn’t have to work. The plan was to just sit and relax after yesterday’s planning and presentation of dinner.
After a bit I decided to make something to eat. Not just anything, that perfect Boxing Day clubhouse sandwich. Even while I was eating Christmas dinner I was tasting that sandwich. Thick slices of turkey and ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, two big slices of dill pickle, mayo, salt and pepper and washed down with a glass of eggnog.
I opened the fridge door and started moving things around and I couldn’t find the turkey or ham. Where was the leftovers? With trepidation, I opened the freezer compartment and there was my sandwich. All the ingredients neatly packed into Tupperware containers or Ziplock bags, labelled with the date on them, frozen solid.
They say we never truly know our spouses when we first get married. How was I to know that a promise not to freeze Christmas leftovers should have been included in our wedding vows?
On closer examination the news got worse. Scraping the frost off the containers I could see the word ‘soup’ written on a couple. When I opened them there were no big, thick slices , just diced up chunks.
Where was the drumstick? Where was my boxing day sandwich? Sure, I could have put it in the microwave but it’s just not the same. It has to be carved right off the carcass and layered neatly on the bread. You can’t place little chunks on the slice of bread like a jig saw puzzle.
But we were still newlyweds and when she got up and offered to make bacon and eggs, I said that would be just fine. But I could see Uncle Bob at home biting into my Boxing Day clubhouse. There is nothing like Christmas dinner leftovers, guard them with your life.
At least that’s what McGregor says.