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The year I got a cold for Christmas

It was just me, John, and Mark for Christmas.

I got up and made a kind of cafe miel – the day before’s coffee heated in the microwave with a big slug of milk, then honey stirred in and a little cream dribbled in.

Then I baked the cinnamon rolls that had been rising in the fridge overnight. They were good, but no surprise, since King Arthur Flour called it their Cinnabon style buns – they were deemed too sweet by my family, although I was not informed of this until the next day. I just thought they were a little doughy – but on reflection the dough did have almost twice as much sugar as the recipe I usually use.

We opened presents – I got a new microwave and ice skates, and one of John’s photographs, that he took away to frame before he gives it to me for real. I think the microwave was for the menfolks as much as it was for me – the one I’d been using, where none of the digital readouts or the clock or the timer worked – pissed Mark & John off more than me. Then we had the cimmy buns and scrambled eggs with salami and cheese (I dismantled some of the last of the salami wrapped around cheese cubes on a stick left from the party) for breakfast. John and I had tangerine juice mimosas made with fresh squeezed clementine juice and a bottle of Costco Proseco that someone brought to some party or other, that I retrieved from the basement fridge.

After that, Mark went for a walk, and I lay on the couch and read with cats on top of me while listening to John snore. I got the duck ready. I decided at the last minute to use Jamie Oliver’s recipe instead of Julia’s, which meant rubbing the duck with orange zest and chopped herbs, stuffing it with garlic and oranges and herb sprigs, and then arranging it on a rack over a pan with chopped carrot, celery, duck gizzards, and a cinnamon stick in it. I roasted the duck for a little over an hour, then put it in a smaller pan, and drained the fat from the lower pan. Which I used to anoint some potatoes to roast. I put the duck and the potatoes back into the oven to roast more on timer, and we walked to the shopping mall to see Star Wars. I ended up with all fat and no drippings to speak of, so I never made the gravy. I flamed the duck, feeling quite smug that I had the brains to transfer it to a platter so I didn’t ignite all the fat in the roasting pan – and  confounding my male kibitzers who thought I should have the matches in hand, and pour the orange liqueur in other spots … them not knowing that it’s not the alcohol that lights – it’s mostly water – it’s the fumes. Even without gravy, after the flames died down, we ate the duck and the potatoes along with a salad of spicy greens and balsamic vinaigrette, followed by a big plate of cookies, and we were perfectly content. A few of my bites of duck tasted like the Christmas duck of my memories, that my mom used to make, orangey and garlicky and ducky.

Mark and I watched the Downton Abbey season 5 Christmas show, and nibbled on cookies, and I finished the Proseco, with ice cubes. Went to bed at 11:40, so we were up almost until the end of the Christmas Day. Pretty good for old farts.

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