I’m already thinking ahead to next Christmas and that I’ll likely make a dish. Perhaps something that I can’t pronounce like bolognese. Meat is definitely a requirement.
What happens when you try to come up with a menu to appease seven human beings, each with differing dietary restrictions, penchants, picadillos, likes, dislikes, preferences, predilections, disinclinations, propensities, and predispositions?
Answer: Exponential permutations.
Good news. It looks like we’ll only need 128 different dishes to satisfy everyone.
Someone in our family (I won’t say who) has “imaginary dietary restrictions” that help make her feel special. This gives her an opportunity at every meal to go on about herself. “I can’t eat this,” she’ll say, “And I can’t eat that.” Like dairy. Then she’ll wolf down a block of cheese and a carton of ice cream. Whatevs.
Last Christmas she had a conniption and insisted my wife make two batches of Hello Dolly treats. One for everyone else and one that respected her specific dietary needs. My wife wasn’t happy about it but gave in to the familial pressure.
This year it was her turn to step up and make a dish. It turned out to be breakfast. And did she make two versions? One respecting her needs and one for everyone else? Hell no. She literally shoved her restrictions down our throats.
One dish. Not two. And it was her personal favorite. Screw what the masses want. Give ’em what you want.
It was organic, vegan, and utterly devoid of dairy and glutens. It was also devoid of flavor. The mouthfeel was mushy. It was texturally offensive. There was no nose. It just laid there and then died. And it was gray, much like the color of decaying brains. Mmm, brains.
It was served with hot sauce. We gagged it down. “This is … tasty.” Merry Christmas.
Later she whipped up an impromptu guacamole for snack time. It wasn’t half bad. I actually got a little. But then we noticed something. She was hoarding her own dish. She kept that bowl close.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Keep your guacamole between you and your enemies.
It was subtle but we are observant. Soon she was literally spooning it into her mouth without the bother of actual chips. Yeah, I know. The guacamole was green and my face was red. I love the colors of the season. I’m literally living the life of a festive Christmas song.
I’m going to have to step up my game. When it comes time to serve my dish next year I’m going to be seeking retribution. It’ll be payback time. But I’ll have to be clever.
I’ve got a whole year to plan.