The holidays seem to arrive earlier each year, with decorations emerging weeks before Halloween candy even gets passed out. And that means most of us will be busier than an elf on December 24 trying to get everything done. To help reduce the season’s “stresstivities,” we’ve chosen a classic film to serve as inspiration for your next social gathering of family and friends.
A Spirited Good Time
Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol is a perennial family favorite, and no matter which version you love, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without Scrooge or Tiny Tim. At the heart of the story is the message about second chances, but we’re also hooked on the way it captures the quintessential old-fashioned English Christmases: Victorian-styled buildings covered in snow, carolers softly singing in the streets, and lively gatherings with loved ones. Enjoying your own version of a Dickens Christmas is simple, and you can start by making sure all Bah, Humbugs! get left at the door.
Remember at the end of the film when a newly-transformed Scrooge shows up at his nephew’s house for dinner and all the fun that follows? Have your guests gather around for a sit-down spread and cover the table with stemmed glassware, gilded plates, and gleaming silver. Think turkey legs, cranberry sauce, bountiful breads, and hearty soup (not gruel) — and don’t forget to save enough space for everyone! The Antoinette table opens up to a remarkable 120 inches, with a rich walnut finish highlighting the detailed carved moldings that are also mirrored on the exquisite side and arm chairs.
When you’re done feasting, grab some popcorn and settle in to watch the film. Turn off the lights and burn some candles to set the somber mood. To really make your guests feel like they’re in the movie, dial back the thermostat and take the fireplace from a roaring blaze to just barely breathing — and have some fingerless gloves and scarves close by to hand out. Add an interactive element to your viewing by encouraging your guests to shout out their favorite lines, or every time you hear the word “goose,” give someone nearby a good-natured pinch. And by the time Tiny Tim utters, God bless us, every one!—each person will be filled with their own version of peace on earth.
Raise a glass and toast your fellow revelers with mouth-watering recipes from food, travel and lifestyle writer, Annabel Cohen. Recently Annabel was featured as “Detroit’s Ultimate Food Writer” on the Travel Channel’s Food Wars and was the deciding judge comparing Detroit landmarks Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island.
One bottle red wine 1 orange, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup brandy 8 whole cloves
2/3 cup honey 2 cinnamon sticks
1-inch piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer (do not boil). Cook for 20-minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve. Makes 6 servings.
1 fresh goose (about 12 pounds), neck and giblets removed, but reserved
Olive oil Kosher salt and pepper
1 whole small apple 1 whole small onion
1 orange, cut into 4 wedges 1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup boiling water 1 cup dry white wine
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Cut away the loose fat from goose (usually around the neck area) reserve for another use). Rinse goose inside and out, and pat dry with paper towel. Prick the goose all over with a fork and rub the skin with olive oil and season inside and out with salt and pepper.
Place the apple, onion, orange and celery in the cavity. Use cotton kitchen twine or string to tie the legs together (at the “ankles). Transfer goose, breast side up, to a rack set in roasting pan. Pur the water and wine into the pan. Arrange the neck and giblets in the pan. Roast the goose for 30-minutes.
Reduce temperature to 325°F. Roast goose for about 20-minutes per pound, basting with pan juices every 20 minutes. After 1 hour, turn the goose over in the roaster (I wear heavy rubber gloves to turn the bird over). The goose is done with juices should run nearly clear when thigh is pierced with a knife or skewer). Turn oven off, crack the oven door open and allow the turkey to rest for 20-minutes before transferring goose (turn over please) to a large platter (heated if possible), carving and serving, discarding the fruits and vegetables in the cavity.