>Christmas Eve 2008 – A Spectacular Flop

>Chefdruck’s Tasty Tuesday on Friday!

Every year, we start planning for Christmas dinner earlier. We used to start talking about it before Thanksgiving, but this year, we started after the back to school craze was over. It’s our cooking Super Bowl, our foodie olympics, our glutton’s masterpiece. Steve and I spend many nights discussing the sides and many emails go back and forth with my sisters as we finally settle on the menu. We squeeze in so many delicacies that inevitably at least one person throws up every year from the sheer richness of it all.

This year, we had it all planned out. We were going to space out the meal over the course of the evening to pace ourselves and keep everyone regurgitation-free. Here are the courses and our planned timing:

6:30 – Smoked Salmon Canapes and Oysters while the kids have their own banquet (kids’ banquet: chicken nuggets and smiley face potatoes)
7:30 – 8:30 – Put kids to bed
8:45 – Foie Gras on toasted brioche
9:00 – Turducken, carrot pudding, roasted potatoes
9:30 – Cheese plate
10:00 – Two different types of chocolate Buches de Noel (Yule Tide Log)

The Buches de Noel are a big French tradition. They’re cakes made out of chocolate or chestnut in the shape of a log. My sisters and I started making our Buches when we were teenagers and our mother was still making the bulk of our Christmas feast. This year was the most ambitious ever. We had three different types of buches: a kids’ buche frosted with pink Pillsbury funfetti frosting, a fancy Concorde buche made out of meringue and chocolate mousse, and a traditional chocolate creme au beurre buche. This was the first year that Bella joined our crew of Buche baking.

We made Turducken last year and were excited to do a repeat performance. Turducken is a deboned chicken covered in stuffing then stuffed in a deboned duck which is also covered in stuffing and then stuffed in a deboned turkey. You slice the final product without needing to worry about bones and each slice has a little of each bird with some flavorful stuffing. The directions told us to plan for 2 hours of cooking so we put it in the oven at 6PM to give us a little breathing room.

We were actually more organized than in years past and even had a few minutes to relax before sitting down with the kids for their meal. I cooked the potatoes and as this is our night of extreme excess, butter is not decadent enough: duck or goose fat is the grease of choice. Once the potatoes were going strong, we had our oysters, our salmon, and tucked in to our foie gras. Then we pulled the Turducken out of the oven. We plunged the thermometer in for good measure – it didn’t even register a temperature.

So we put it back in for another twenty minutes and poured ourselves a little wine. Then a little more wine… then we broke out the cards and we waited… and waited…. and waited. At 11:15, tired of waiting we finally tucked in to the sides and ate the edges of the Turducken. At that point we were so drunk that although we were starving, we were almost too uncoordinated to cut the meat.

We never made it to the cheese or the buches.

Last night, we finally had the damn Turducken. And it wasn’t even that good. The stuffing was bland, there was too little turkey, and it was definitely not worth the wait. But the rest of the meal was even better the second time around: more potatoes with more duck fat, more carrot pudding, cheese, and lots and lots of chocolate buches de noel!

The planning for next year has now begun. One thing is for certain, there will be no Turducken on the menu.

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