Wednesday, December 8, 1999

Holiday Kooking Tips


     So, once again it's December 8.  The day that spends 364 days of the year living in infamy, only to drop by unannounced on the 365th no matter how busy we are with Christmas cards, mistletoe, and worrying that failure to recall the names of all Santa's reindeer is the first sign of Alzheimer's.  
     This time it's the 58th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  You know:  Planes.  Bombs.  Smoke.  Young lives cut short by the evil machinations  of foreign militarists bent on world domination.    
     No, wait - I'm thinking of December 7th.  That was yesterday.  Whew - what a relief!  Now I don't have to think about all that for a whole 'nother year!
     Ahhh, just one of the advantages of becoming a devout follower of Mass Mediaism.    
     There will be a slight pause will I go bow to the Golden Microphone I have in a niche in the corner....

     Back!  And now that I've been freshly relieved of the burdens of history, I'm ready to share a few of my favorite Holiday Kooking Tips.
     As you may or may not know, this Thanksgiving was the first that my wife and I celebrated with her parents in our own home.  It went so well that I've been meaning to compile a list of some of the shortcuts, tricks, and helpful hints we now think went a long way towards making our holiday the great success it was.  
     Without further delay, here they are.

     Hint #1: Get all your crying over spilt milk out of the way ahead of time.  We started back in October.  Depending on how much milk you're likely to spill, you may or may not need to start crying back as far as August - or even July.  Next year we plan on starting in April, but just for a few minutes a day so our heads are not quite so noticeably smaller for having shed so much liquid immediately prior to answering the door.  This way we'll be ready as well in the event that unexpected last minute grocery store price rises require a few additional tears be shed. 

     Hint #2: Get all your crying over unspilt milk out of the way ahead of time, too.  And by "crying over unspilt milk" it's understood that I also mean "weeping over the fact that it took the intestines of 700,000 cows to make one gasbag for a single Zeppelin airship."  Indeed, before switching to lead in the 1970s, the Zeppelin Company used the bowels of up to 16 million cows a year.  Economists now believe that the heavy demand of the Zeppelin Company for cow bowels single-handedly drove their price through the roof and forced poor college students to settle for raccoon coats all through the 1920s.  Which reminds me:  Raccoon coats may have gone out of fashion, but one can never have too many handkerchiefs in a world like this.  Thankfully, most are made of cotton - demonstrably one of the least sentient plants of them all. 

     Hint #3:  Opting to go with a traditional menu for your main holiday meal greatly reduces the chances of you forgetting to serve anything at all.  If you don't have a traditional holiday menu yet, now's the time to invent one.  Here's a few of the things we're planning to include on ours for the Solstice, Christmas, New Year's Day, and of course every morning of Kwanzaa:

- Elegiac bone tarts
- Crampberry sauce
- Thoroughly yammered potatoes
- Twice-canned beast twists
- Home-made animatronic catsup
- Fresh-sniffed miniature pylons  
- Carbonated gravy
- Carbonated ungravy (for the dieters)
- Uncarbonated Coke (for finicky cats)
- Comatose chocolates (pocketable dessert)
- Granulated thankfulness (put in clean shaker can, sprinkled as 
     Hint #4:  Remember - there are two kinds of acorns.  White oak acorns come from trees with round leaves and require a minimal amount of roasting to render digestible.  Red oak acorns come from trees with pointy leaves and must be roasted longer because of their higher levels of tannin.  Nicked acorns, when planted, grow up to be already cut down trees.  Buckeyes are poisonous and should be eaten in moderation too small to be detected by current instruments.

     Hint #5:  To make visiting your bathroom a more interesting experience for your guests, simply mount a large "FLAMMABLE WHEN WET!" sign above the hand towels. 

     Hint #6:  To reduce the number of visits your guests need make to your bathroom, greatly diminish the risk of embarrassing sweating accidents, and virtually eliminate their ability to speak, be sure to pass out the whole-body Pampers the moment it's clear they're not leaving your porch until you open the door.

     Hint #7:  Instead of asking for God's blessing before you eat and risk being stood up again, try doing what we do and settle for singing a few lullabies for Satan.  Listening to Evil snore is the next best thing to convincing Goodness to go running barefoot through your soul, we always say, and the liability insurance is cheaper as well.  

     Hint #8:  Not enough food to go around?  Try stuffing your kitchen sink's spout full of appetite suppressants the day before, scatter salted peanuts around your rooms, and replace those old wall hangings of yours with framed copies of doctor columns telling us the importance of drinking at least 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day.  The money you save on twice-canned beast twists will more than make up for the extra you have to spend on whole-body Pampers.

     Hint #9:  Tried all this before and feel like you're still in a rut?  Stay out of your kitchen entirely.  When your guests ask you what's going on, strike a gong, flash some lights, and dramatically announce that one or two common household item aren't actually household items at all but this year's holiday dinner in disguise.  If you've never seen Grandpa mouthing an end table or Cousin Sajam eyeing your Furbys a whole new way, you really MUST try this before yet another holiday season has passed you by!  (NOTE: If grumpy Grandpa refuses to play along or the suddenly furry-lipped Cousin Sajam decides to come after you with a cleaver, try flashing the lights faster.)  

     There's more I could say - much, much more - but some things must remain a Birtcher household specialty, you know?  And I trust this is enough to get you started all the same.  
     Just remember: A little imagination can go a long, long way.
     Why, "Marmaduke" alone has been running on a single idea since 1954!  Certainly we can do as well as a comic strip dog - can't we??
     No, no - don't answer that.  I'll just use my imagination to provide the half-baked answers that I crave. 




(All Material ©1999 by Dan Birtcher only because his garbage disposal 
seems to be jammed with elegiac bone tarts.)