For those of you new to Second Blooming, Mommy is my much beloved, 82-year old Brooklyn Italian-American mother-in-law. Mommy is a bundle of love and neuroses. Mommy's turn-ons are cleaning, chocolate, General Hospital, slutty tank tops, the Blessed Mother, blackberry brandy, flashy jewelry, sunbathing, talking to her girlfriends on the phone (all of whom are named Cathy) and her children/grandson. Her turn-offs include germs, bugs, lightning, elevators, bras, logic, "The City", all the scary things she hears about on The Today Show and often...Pop. Picture Edith Bunker with brassy hair and a top purchased from the Victoria's Secret catalogue. I adore her. Read about Mommy's amazing beauty tips HERE. Read about Pop's 20 year hiatus, during which he lived with "that woman" HERE. And HERE for just more general Mommyishness.
5 Christmas Tips From Mommy
1. Christmas tree - Mommy saves time and energy decorating her Christmas tree by never taking the decorations off! That's right. After Christmas, she simply removes the handful of breakable ornaments people have given her over the years, covers it with plastic, and has Jerry the Yardman carry the entire tree, which she purchased several years ago at a store called Cheap John's, complete with lights, garland, balls and tinsel, down into the basement, where it remains the rest of the year. Brilliant!
2. Gift Getting - Immediately open every present you receive, no matter what. Like a little kid.
December 15th. The phone rings and Gretchen answers it.
(on phone - very excited)
I LOVE IT!!
I got it! I got it!
What? Your present? You opened it?
I couldn't resist! I'm just like a kid! It's so beautiful!!
Mommy! That was your Christmas present. It was wrapped!
Now you won't have anything to open! You won't have anything
under the tree!
Oh, what do I care. I love it! It's so beautiful! I know just the affair
to wear it to! The Goldstein's Hanukkah party! It's perfect!
The present was a velour sweat suit from the Old Navy. Gretchen shakes her head.
Also, Mommy absolutely adores EVERY present she EVER gets. She really, genuinely, whole-heartedly adores all gifts. It's a very nice trait to have.
3. Gift Giving - Mommy just gives cash. And who doesn't love cash? Because Mommy, despite living for the last 50 years in suburban Long Island, doesn't know how to drive, so she has trouble doing things like shopping unless one of the Cathys drives her. So Mommy just writes a check. "Pick yourself out something nice." Or pay the electric bill. Either way, always an excellent gift! Also, when Mommy does decide to give an actual present "Just so you have a little something to unwrap" she wraps all the presents in the same-sized boxes with the same wrapping paper, and never remembers to put on gift tags. Which is a wacky surprise on Christmas morning when everybody opens up the wrong presents! Mommy giggles and giggles.
4. Keeping Your Energy Up -
Gretchen and Mommy are talking on the phone. Gretchen is telling Mommy about how she's busy putting up the tree and decorating the house for Christmas.
Don't knock yourself out! This time of year, you gotta
keep your energy up. You know what I use?
I love 'em! I do a little work, then I take a break and eat a Mallomar.
It picks me right up!
Gretchen shakes her head.
5. The Crab Sauce -
Every Christmas Eve, Mommy prepares The Feast of the Seven Fishes for the family. The centerpiece of this fabulous meal is her crab sauce. She cooks giant Alaskan King Crab legs in tomato sauce, then during the meal, it's served in two parts. The first course is the crab, brought to the table hot, dripping with sauce. Everybody cracks the crab legs themselves and sucks the meat out. OUTRAGEOUS! Then, the sauce is served over pasta, or as Mommy says "the macaroni". Here is Mommy's recipe, in her own words. My translation is in the brackets.
Mommy's Christmas Eve Crab Sauce
You gotta get the big Alaska King Crab legs, the real big ones. Make the man get them from the back. Buy at least 1 claw each plus. It's about $125 for the crab.
First, rinse the crab legs and let them drain overnight in the scolapasta in a pot in the fridge to get all the water out of them. [Rinse the crab legs, and drain them in a colander over a pot in the refrigerator overnight.]
Then, you get your biggest pot. Put in a little oil and then do the garlic the regular way you do when you do the sauce. Then you pour in your sauce. For 6 cans of Tuttorosso, I put in about 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. [In large stockpot, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil. Crush 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. Mommy uses an old fashioned wooden mortar and pestle. Add garlic to oil. Saute for about 30 seconds, then add 6 28-oz cans tomato sauce. Mommy's preferred brand is Tuttorosso.]
In the middle of cooking the sauce, squash some more garlic and crushed parsley, chopped up really good in the mortaio .That gives it a change of taste. Then you cook it til it's done. [Cook for 20 minutes. In the mortar and pestle, crush another 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, and a handful of Italian parsley. Add to sauce.Cook for 30 minutes more.]
Then, you put a little oil in one of those big pots, what do you call 'em? Like a big roasting pot, and you cook the crab legs over the stove. With a little more garlic. And you cook 'em until all the water's gone. [In large roaster, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add 1 clove crushed garlic, then the crab legs. Cook until liquid is evaporated.]
Put the crabs in the sauce let them cook maybe 10 minutes until they get nice and warm. then put them in the fridge. It's better if you make it a couple of days before Christmas Eve. It gets better the longer it sits.
[Reheat just until hot. Serve sauce over pasta.]
So there you have it. Christmas according to Mommy. I hope that her many years of experience and knowledge make your holiday season more pleasant and productive.
This post was inspired by Prompt #2: Five Things.