So This Is Christmas

December 26

To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold. ~ Aristotle

We had a Raclette Christmas dinner this year. Our first encounter with this meal took place in an alpine ski area of Europe 24 years ago. Hence, the following two photos . . .

We dined under the tutelage of our hostess, the divine Madame Jeannette (center, standing).  She was a hoot.  This may have been the day Carine arrived (thus, in Chatel), or it may have been in La Chapelle-d’Abondance.  The same may be said of the following photo. Both are dated April 9, 1997, which seems odd since they are obviously two separate venues. BTW, as I recall Carine (on Madame Jeannette’s right) arrived from Paris to be an au pair for Walter’s (on the left) and Michelle’s (taking the picture) children while we vacationed in Chatel, France . . .

But I suspect that it was with Madame Jeannette that we experienced the marvel of a raclette dinner.  “raclette dinner party is a twist on fondue that can be a crowd-pleaser for birthdays, holidays, showers, and many other special occasions.  Raclette is a type of cheese from Switzerland that is prepared with vegetables on a special grill” (thespruce.com). L-r: Roel, Michelle, Walter, Ruthie, me, with Carine in front . . .

December 21

[First, we got some snow . . . ]

There’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special. ~ Carol Rifka Brunt

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people. ~ Bill Bowerman

[Later waiting for the snow plow to arrive . . . ]

December 22

[On Wednesdays in summer we dine at the Alexandria Golf Club; in winter we dine at the Lure Lakebar with a view of Lake Le Homme Dieu . . . ]

A cannibal is a person who walks into a restaurant and orders a waiter. ~  Morey Amsterdam

In a restaurant, choose a table near a waiter. ~ Jewish Proverb

Festivus (December 23)

Festivus, Sir. And, uh, I was afraid that I would be persecuted for my beliefs. They drove my family out of Bayside, Sir! ~ George Costanza

[“The Boys of ’65” had planned for a road trip today (the original date last week was weathered out). Bradley, no doubt rightly, expressed concerns about the ubiquitousness of omicron. So, for now, we passed on “Bear Trap” in Sauk Centre and returned to the tried and true “Lure Lakebar” in Alex. Mayo reported the roadways between Burnsville and Alexandria to be high and dry. We’re holding out hopes for a road trip in late January. We held the table for four hours, as usual, and thus despite the fact that today was the commencement of longer days ahead it would be dark before Mayo arrived home. We indulged in the usual fare – I believe Mayo set a record by downing four Cokes which made us question his ability to make it home nonstop. Of note, we all question why we all hurt all the time in every part of our bodies and decided that four Cokes may not be the antidote for that. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and to all a good night . . . ]

The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going. ~  George Carlin

Oh, no, Sir. Festivus is all too real. And… I could prove it – if I had to. ~ George Costanza

[Yes, we were here the previous night and that’s still Lake Le Homme Dieu . . . ]

Never eat at a place called ‘Moms’, but if the only other place in town has a sign that says ‘Eats’, go back to Moms. ~ W. C. Fields 

When you first entered the restaurant, I thought you were handsome… and then, of course, you spoke. ~ Helen Hunt

Welcome, newcomers. The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people and now you’re gonna hear about it. ~ Frank Costanza

Christmas Eve

[I made chili in the morning because it’s a state law that one do so when it’s cold and snowing . . . ]

[We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner – grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup – then we opened presents for which we spared every expense, then we watched the classic, family-friendly, Christmas movies – “Bad Santa” and “Die Hard”.]

Eating at fast food outlets and other restaurants is simply a manifestation of the commodification of time coupled with the relatively low value many Americans have placed on the food they eat. ~ Andrew F. Smith

The age of your children is a key factor in how quickly you are served in a restaurant. We once had a waiter in Canada who said, ‘Could I get you your check?’ and we answered, ‘How about the menu first?’ ~ Erma Bombeck

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. ~ Robert Wells, Mel Torme

I’m in favor of liberalizing immigration because of the effect it would have on restaurants. I’d let just about everybody in except the English. ~ Calvin Trillin

If men are God’s gift to women, then God must really love gag gifts. ~  Maya Angelou

Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops. ~  Kurt Vonnegut

I made a terrible mistake last Christmas. My wife made me swear that I wouldn’t give her a fancy gift. And I didn’t. ~ Milton Berle

A Christmas tree—the perfect gift for a guy. The plant is already dead. ~ Jay Leno

Last Christmas, I got the worst gift a guy ever gave me. He gave me a lottery ticket… what’s the guy even thinking there. “Here you go… nothing! Merry Christmas! It’s nothing! ~ Norm Macdonald

The most popular Valentine’s Day gift is chocolate. In the 1800’s, doctors told their patients to eat chocolate to get over a broken heart. They also thought if you’re going to be alone, who cares if you get fat. ~ Craig Ferguson

Christmas Day

[Christmas morning, 2021! Yes, we’ve had a bit of a thaw recently, but hang on to your shorts, kiddies – we are forecast to receive significant snowfall over the next five days!]

[Later we went to see “West Side Story” for a little noontime diversion. We drove through a blinding snow storm to get there – visibility less than two blocks. What’s Christmas without a little fun . . . and danger?]

[This is what was happening from Big Ole cam while we were at the movie . . . ]

[The snow had stopped by the time we came out of the theater . . . ]

[A youngster on the far side of Lake H2Obert was out building a snowman . . . ]

[Readying for the aforementioned Raclette Christmas dinner . . . ]

[This is our electric Raclette table grill . . . ]

[And then the Super noted Snowshoe Guy was walking by . . . ]

[We’ve seen him every winter – but this was the first time this year . . . ]

Avoid restaurants with names that are improbable descriptions, such as the Purple Goose, the Blue Kangaroo or the Quilted Orangutan. ~ Calvin Trillin

[That’s Guinie above, Laddie below. When Ruthie first put the grill on the counter, we turned our backs, and Laddie jumped up and layed down on it. Uffda! I’ve heard Raclette does not mix well with cat hair . . . ]

[Champagne (OK, Prosecco) popped and poured . . . ]

[One can put anything one wants on the grill . . . ]

[And here’s the cheese for which the whole meal is named . . . ]

Come unto me, all ye that labor in the stomach, and I will restore you. ~ M. Boulanger, 1765, Motto over door of first restaurant

[The grill top is filling up, and the Super has prepared her little under-the-grill pans with potatoes, broccoli, and Raclette . . . ]

[And the steak strips are placed on top; you can see the four handles of the Raclette pans sticking out under the grill. The heat from the burner underneath melts the cheese over the potatoes and broccoli . . . ]

[I’ve pulled a pan out from underneath, the cheese nicely melted . . . ]

Bon appetit!

There is no sincerer love than the love of food. ~ George Bernard Shaw

People who love to eat are always the best people. ~ Julia Child

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. ~ Julia Child

December 26

[The snowplow guy came to clear the driveway about 5:00 am . . . ]

You can’t get too much winter in the winter. ~ Robert Frost

I was just thinking, if it is really religion with these nudist colonies, they sure must turn atheists in the wintertime. ~ Will Rogers

This crisp winter air is full of it. ~ John Burroughs

Nothing burns like the cold. ~ George R. R. Martin

Up Next: A new year ahead . . .

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