Around the World on Christmas Day

Our house is going to be buzzing with activity today, as Hubby and I host the Christmas feast. Our family is multi-cultural, with Jamaican immigrants and second-generation Americans on my side and the two white guys who were brave enough to marry into our raucous clan. There is Hubby, of Scottish and German descent and my cousin Melinda’s husband Jeff, who is French-Canadian. With all of these influences, our Christmas dinner will be a culinary tour of the Commonwealth and Europe, plus whatever else this adventurous lot can conjure up. We are roasting two Long Island ducks, seven pounds of ribs and brewing about a gallon of sorrel. Aunt Mary is bringing escovitched fish, and her daughter Nia is baking a beer-marinated ham. Melinda is bringing roasted veggies and egg nog. Oh! And Aunt Mary is also bringing black cake. (This feast is going to exact a steep short-term price, i.e. serious gym and purging rituals.)

And because I had to be all Type-A about things, we’re skipping the stocking stuffers. Instead, we’ll be putting treats into Victorian-esque paper cones and hanging them from a seven-foot balsa tree. Each cone will be stamped with a guest’s name on it, so they can pick through the boughs, probably while balancing Melinda’s egg nog, to find their cone.

I can count up to five interracial marriages in my family (including extended family), and all involving the women. As far as I know, all the married men in my family chose black women as wives. Strangely, I don’t think that trend makes us special. I’ve never seriously asked myself why that has happened. Perhaps I feel really comfortable about our cultural makeup, because I’m used to being in very diverse social surroundings. I’ve lived in Northern New Jersey almost my whole life, and here  you can’t move this way or that without practically tripping over people from far afield. It’s practically Queens over here! Naturally, all of these people living, working and playing right next to each other will occasionally intermarry. It would be more unusual—and suspect to some—if cross-cultural pairings rarely or never happened.

Well, Hubby and Jeff fit right into our family. Melinda and Jeff have such an irreverent zest for life that I call them Mad-and-Cap. And Hubby’s first-child seriousness foils my spacey only-child tendencies (a long story for another blog). And our family loves both of these guys, so Melinda and I had better take good care of them! Today we’ll underscore our domestic felicity with a relaxing Christmas dinner over fine china laden with goodies of every kind. And then we’ll dissolve into generally silly and uproarious behavior. Merry Christmas everyone. I’ll try to post another couple of entertaining updates to get you through the rest of this holiday season.

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