Thanksgiving and Christmas Lead-Up

Thanksgiving weekend we went to New York, which was lovely since we haven't been there for Thanksgiving--um, ever, I think--and since we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents since they came out to LA to join us. We had Aunt Mary with us for the whole weekend, and we got to make the first holiday meal in Mom and Dad's beautiful new Bayside co-op. We also got to eat delicious Korean food and empanadas and other tasty treats.

On Saturday we went up to see Yia-ya (pictured at left with Mom and Dad), and we visited with her for awhile before eating the most delicious fried fish and shrimp on City Island. The weekend was filled with lots of online word games (we introduced Aunt Mary to the wonders of Internet gaming--on one level, at least), and we flew back Saturday night to go to Allison and Mark's wedding in Boston on Sunday.

Then, the weekend after Thanksgiving, Mom and Dad came up to Boston, and while Dad and Robert replumbed the kitchen sink and did other chores and repair jobs around the house, Mom joined me and Sarah at the Magi Moment (women's Christmas crafts at Park Street). We each made a fresh centerpiece wreath, together finishing ours in just an hour, then staying and chatting with each other another half hour, and then leaving while virtually every other woman in the room still worked obsessively to get her greens in the perfect spot. Sarah, Mom, and I can all be obsessively perfectionist about many things, but apparently this sort of wreath-making is not among them. We had a good time, though, and I gave the wreath to Robert's grandmother to make her apartment a little more festive.

This weekend, the second weekend in December, we had lots of fun things planned too: Sunday John was coming down from New Hampshire, so Robert and I and Bob set aside the day to spend with him. We all had a heavenly brunch at Henrietta's Table in Harvard Square (fabulous fat shrimp, luscious pates and cheeses and breads, excellent raw oysters, and that was just part of it!), after which Bob and Robert and I walked around window shopping and actually shopping (Bob bought a rocking chair, we bought a storage bed). Saturday, however, was a very different sort of day: while Robert visited his grandmother, Sarah and Meg came over and we made challah--a lot of it. I have a recipe sized to make a batch of challah from a five-pound bag of bread flour, which I thought would be fun to do (at least once), but I clearly didn't have the person-power or freezer-space to either consume or store that much challah. So Sarah and Meg stepped in, Meg going home with four medium loaves (free-form single-strand twist braids, each about 11" x 5") for herself, along with a giant loaf (10" x 16" or so) to store in her freezer (since Sarah and I never have any space in ours) and then bring to Sarah's Hanukkah party). We also brought a baker's dozen (excuse me, I mean the twelve tribes of Israel plus one to grow on) of good-sized (Kaiser-roll sized) rolls to Miriam's housewarming party later that night, along with some good cultured salted butter and a cream cheese spread with garlic chives. In addition, I made a 9" x 5" loaf to freeze for Christmas Day and six small loaves (6-7" x 3" or so) that I wrapped as gifts for various people. The challah itself was delicious, light and not too sweet, and I was able to rotate loaves in and out of warm spots and hot spots and the oven so that everything both rose and baked properly--quite a feat, considering the scale of this endeavor.

Above left is me, the night before, realizing that the proofing container I had wasn't big enough to keep the dough during its first, chilled, overnight proofing period. I'm wincing because I knew it would open with quite the pop. At right is me with the dough now split in two, each half in a giant Tupperware "ThatsaBowl" bowl to finish rising. Below left you see Sarah and Meg as they form some rolls, and below right you see some of the baked rolls and loaves cooling.

At Miriam's that night, the rolls were much enjoyed, along with the other goodies she'd prepared for her and Davis's housewarming. It's a beautiful house, really, and absolutely huge. There's even a wood-burning stove in their den, off of the kitchen; at left, you see Davis, Sarah, Miriam, and Miriam's mother (visiting for the weekend) posing near the stove.

At right, you see me entering a new stage of hairdye (it's Manic Panic After Midnight Blue, another product of our Cambridge shopping foray with Bob on Sunday)--it seemed like a good time to do it, since my roots were starting to show in the Halloween blonde, and since I'm pretty sure I couldn't get this much of a tint to my hair normally without bleaching it first--and as I proved to myself from the triple-bleach experiment in October, that's an awful lot of work. Wait, what's my favorite color again? I can't seem to remember. I'll leave it this color through Christmas, at least, and then we'll see what happens.

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Created: 12/12/06. Last Modified: 12/12/06.