First of all, a little fun holiday fact: if you ever want to, say, roast a goose for a glorious Christmas gathering of your own, be prepared to shell out $60-$100. (A message board poster sums it up nicely in her thread title: "Price of Goose - What Happened???" Each of those three question marks is necessary.) Also, if you must purchase said goose frozen because even the most specialized poultry shops don't sell fresh goose until the week before Christmas, prepare to wait three days for your goose to thaw.
Given that no butcher in East Lansing sees the value of carrying fresh duck or boar's head (I know, right?), Philip and I settled on chicken and hoped that we wouldn't lose any holiday brownie points for doing away with the traditional English main courses that would surely make our Old World-themed party a success.
Groceries purchased and Costas (sous-chef extraordinaire, come to find) in tow, we rolled up our sleeves and set to work. The cooks all enjoyed Angie's dark chocolate and sea salt kettle corn with no regard for our waistlines or the fact that a sumptuous repast was immediately forthcoming. Really, there was no proper response but to finish off the whole bag in ca. thirty minutes when its ingredients were (and I quote): Joy. Love. Exaltation.
Our night was off to a good start.
The menu for the evening ultimately included the following:
+ two roasted chickens, one dressed à la Barefoot Contessa with lemons, garlic, and thyme and the other stuffed with apples and currants and basted with a butter and apple cider glaze
+ roasted carrots and fennel
+ mashed sweet potatoes with a hint of honey and cinnamon
+ apple and currant stuffing (and who knew this would become the most indispensable dish of the night?)
+ green beans sauteed with bacon, onions, and red pepper flakes
+ figgy pudding (no, really)
This is to say nothing of our appetizers: the brie and baguettes, the vegetables, rolls, and dips brought by other partygoers, and the gougères prepared by none other than Allison (from whom we've come to expect nothing less than food that requires the rest of us to do some Wikipedia research beforehand). Also, Christmas isn't Christmas without sugar: chocolate cupcakes and apple and cranberry pie baked by dear, sweet Philip (the latter of which was sadly neglected all evening because the figgy pudding was just that good).
After dinner, we caroled at the spinet. Few things in life are sweeter to me than singing with these voices I know and love so well: Sarah, Dan, Philip, Costas, Allison, Victoria. We laughed. We cried. (No, really.) I read poetry aloud from the beautiful book Philip gave me: Christmas in Art & Song from 1879. He and I both did our best Linus van Pelt imitations in reciting the Christmas story from Luke, wrapped in a bright blue Snuggie so as to look like shepherds mild.
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.