WND – Not the Grinch

December 11, 2008


A combination of not having Dinner last week and having a birthday Dinner this week for someone whose birthday is actually on Thanksgiving, has completely thrown off my sense of time.  I keep having to remind myself that it is not the week after Thanksgiving, and that I do not have most of December to go before Christmas.  It is, in fact, two weeks to Christmas.  It is 10 days until I leave for Christmas to visit my parents, which in turn means that it’s seven days until my mother remembers all the things that she wants me to bring her from the US that she swore she wasn’t going to need this year.

It’s time to put up our Christmas tree, and then go over to my roommate’s parent’s house this weekend to help decorate their tree (which is the most enormous tree I have ever seen, I’m astonished every year again by how big it is).  It’s time for me to start getting worried about the fact that the Christmas present I ordered for my father from England hasn’t arrived yet (not panicking until it’s the 15th and it hasn’t arrived yet).

Christmas has been going on since just after Halloween this year – apparently an economy in recession means we get to skip the Thanksgiving kitsch and move directly to the tacky Christmas decorations – which means I’ve had over a month to get thoroughly tired of “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” being played in every store I visit.  But, because it’s now actually coming up on mid-December it does mean that I’m starting to feel a little Grinch-like complaining about it.

I don’t want to sound Grinch-like about Christmas, I actually really love Christmas.  When I was growing up it was the only time of year that my parents actually entertained, and I loved having a full table for Christmas dinner.  Of course now that I’m not there to see it my parents entertain all the time, and I have my own table that I can fill with friends and family as often as I please.  I love finding that perfect gift for someone.  I love the decorations, and the way that Christmas smells of cinnamon and ginger.  I’m not wild about the Target commercials that have co-opted Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer as a vehicle for conspicuous consumption, but that’s why the fast forward button on your DVR was invented.

I don’t decorate the outside of our house, mostly because we rent and it’s not really our house, but I do enjoy both the tasteful and the completely over-the-top absolutely tasteless Christmas lights that people put up.  However, by far my favorite Christmas decoration is the inflatable communist snowman.  Possibly other people probably don’t see the communist angle, but the upraised arm always reminds me of the classic communist recruitment posters.


Someday I really want to do a stealth art installation of ranks upon ranks of inflatable snowmen in the middle of a high school football field, or on a town common.  I want to set it up in the middle of the night and then sit back and watch people’s reactions the next morning.  I’m saving it for when I win the lottery and I can live a life of idle entertainment*.

This is also the time of year when I really feel like the Jewish community is missing a prime opportunity to prove that they can be just as tacky as Christians.  I think there should be giant inflatable dreidels that spin and play the dreidel song every time someone walks by.  Further investigation on google reveals that this does exist, apparently I just don’t live in the right kind of neighborhood to see it.

All of this has a minimal amount to do with Dinner this week which was lasagna and pumpkin bread pudding as requested.  It is, however, slightly more on topic than talking about why we’re impatiently waiting for NBC to actually air Merlin (BBC show that looks like the love child of Mists of Avalon, Chretien de Troyes and Disney – the teenager in my soul who was completely swept away by Mists of Avalon is ecstatic), or our collective flabbergastment at Blagojevich.  Jes is appalled by his chutzpah, not to say his stupidity.  I’m sort of entertained by it, although that’s only because he got caught.  It’d be a lot less funny if he’d gotten away with it.

* Right after I set up an endowment for a fantasy heroine camp where you can learn fencing, archery, riding, dagger throwing, etiquette, lock picking . . . . all the things that heroines in fantasy novels learn in the first book of the trilogy.


Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Earlier this week my roommate asked me what we were having for Dinner and then raised her eyebrows and said, “So, it’s starch, with a side of starch?”  I acknowledged that this was true, and that in deference I had eschewed the traditional garlic bread accompaniment because that might be a little too much starch even for me.

Recipe previously given:  Look Ma, no chicken


Pumpkin Bread Pudding
I couldn’t find challah this week.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I probably could have found challah, but I decided I was more interested in reading my book at lunch on Tuesday than I was in hiking down to Whole Foods to buy challah.


I used cinnamon raisin bread from Panera instead and didn’t add the ½ cup of raisins the recipe calls for since the bread already had raisins.  I actually think this works better than using challah.  It’s not quite as dense and deadly.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still incredibly rich, just a little less rich than if you made it with challah.

I also made it in ramekins rather than in a large casserole dish for no particularly good reason other than that I love using ramekins.  It works out to about 1 slice of bread per ramekin, and bakes for 25-35 minutes (or until a knife comes out clean).

Recipe previously given:  Birthday Stew




  1. 1) I actually see it as more of a Heil Hitler Snowman. Which obviously doesn’t make it any better.

    2) Apparently my sister actually has a neighbor that goes all out with the Hanukkah decorations. Though I’ve yet to see for myself. I should get her to take a picture.

    3) It could’ve been worse… I could’ve asked for corn pudding too. =) Or for an entirely pudding-based meal.

  2. Oh pumpkin bread pudding, how I miss ye.


    (I do like Jen’s idea of an entirely pudding based meal though. Howabout taking it as a challenge for the new year?)

  3. […] I feel that the time has come for my annual Grinch-like declaration that it’s not frelling Christmas yet so could we stop with the performances of the Hallelujah chorus, the displays of Christmas candy, the lighting of Christmas trees, and the inflation of communist snowmen. […]

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