Christmas Dinner

ENGL 1301 – Section 4 Narrative essay June 13, 2012 The Making of Christmas Dinner “Caitlyn, get downstairs now! ” frantically screamed my mother. The sound of her nervous voice made me spring from the bed and quickly scramble down the stairs to the kitchen. As I slid around the corner and headed toward the kitchen, I encountered a large, foggy cloud of strong smoke. “Mom, what’s going on? ” I screeched. She was grabbing the bright red fire extinguisher from under the sink to avert the fire coming from the oven. She opened the oven door to see flames coming from our Christmas turkey.
Flames were leaping out from the roaster pan when she unleashed the fire extinguisher dousing the smoldering carcass. I didn’t understand what had happened. It was Christmas Eve morning, and my mom had been working on the special plans for a family dinner for days. By this time, my sisters were also in the kitchen, wondering what was causing such a commotion. We all agreed that the turkey was as good as road kill. Mom dumped the turkey in the outside trash barrels and came back into the kitchen to decide how we could switch to an alternative plan.
As the awful smell of burned turkey filled the kitchen, mother explained that she had forgotten to reduce the temperature of the oven before she went to bed last night. We were all grateful the whole kitchen wasn’t on fire! I felt horrible for my mom. This was going to be the first year to have the entire family come to our house for dinner. We all looked at each other with the question, “What are we going to do? ” My mom said that she and my dad could drive to Tyler to buy a Greenburg turkey already cooked. That sounded like the best plan. However,” she added, “you girls will have to finish the side dishes. ” We all looked at each other with uneasy expressions on our faces. Could we do this? Without really thinking about what we were agreeing to do, we said, “Oh yes, we can do that. ” Before mom left for Tyler, she gave us the entire menu she had planned: green beans, mashed potatoes, our favorite macaroni and cheese, and yeast rolls. Aunt Kelley was bringing the fruit salad. Aunt Joyce was bringing her special cranberry salad. Our grandmother was bringing her favorite pecan pie and our great randmother was bringing her famous banana pudding. My sisters and l agreed we would make gingerbread cookies to add to the wonderful dessert assortment. As our parents drove out of sight toward Tyler, we girls went to work. We divided the responsibilities and went to our work spaces in the kitchen. Ashley got the green beans started by opening the huge can of Italian green beans mom had bought at Sam’s Wholesale. It looked like we could feed the whole army with all those beans. She added lots of butter with salt & pepper. As they began to boil, she lowered the heat and put a lid on the pot.

Lauren was peeling potatoes at the sink. When she finally finished peeling all the potatoes, she began cutting them into slices and put them into a large pot of water to boil. I was busy getting the boxes of macaroni opened to add to the boiling water I had already started. Adding a dash of salt, I lowered the heat under the bubbling macaroni hoping it would not boil over onto the stove. I figured we had already had enough catastrophes for one day. While the macaroni noodles were boiling, I sliced the creamy Velveeta cheese that would be added to complete our favorite side dish.
We were amazed that everything was cooking so quickly and the smell of burned turkey was being replaced with a much more appetizing aroma. When all of our assigned dishes were completed, we all decided we could work together to make the gingerbread cookies. We had helped our mother make cookies since we were little girls so we felt more comfortable with this chore. My mom had already made the dough for the cookies, so we were left with the fun part…rolling and cutting the little gingerbread men. Ashley found the cookie cutter while Lauren began rolling the dough.
I gathered all the cookie sheets we would need to make everyone in our family their own gingerbread cookie. Lauren had the dough all rolled out on the cabinet and we all took turns cutting out the little men. We gently lifted each cookie and placed them on the baking sheets. They looked like little children all in a row with their arms outstretched to welcome our guests. As the cookies were placed in the warm oven, we began to gather the decorations needed to create the image of one of our favorite storybook characters, “The Little Gingerbread Boy. The cookies smelled wonderful baking in the oven. We had been careful to set the timer so the cookies would not burn. When the cookies were baked and cooled, we began making tiny smiling faces with bright eyes on each little gingerbread man. Ashley found a large crystal dish to arrange the finished cookies for an impressive presentation. They were so cute, we decided to leave them out on the dessert table for everyone to see as they arrived. We gathered all of my mom’s special china serving bowls to compliment each of the side dishes we had prepared.
When our parents returned home with the beautiful Greenburg turkey, they were overwhelmed with all the side dishes we had prepared and had placed in the warming oven to await our guests. We didn’t confess that we had made a quick trip to The Farm House for the wonderful yeast rolls. We decided that detail could wait until after dinner. All of us gathered the red and green Christmas dishes with a decorated tree in the center of each plate so each guest would have a special place at the table.
Dad helped set the silver at each plate and my mom reached to the top shelf of the china cabinet to get their wedding gift crystal glasses. What began as a nightmarish day had turned into a wonderful Christmas memory. As our relatives began to gather bringing their personal additions to the dinner, we were all reminded of why this celebration is our favorite day of the year. We had all come together to share our love for each other and be grateful for the many blessings we shared as a family.

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