On Giants' Shoulders

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Presents

Last year Danielle Bean had a guessing game on her blog (she did this year as well). One of the places that the gift could come from was a store that had kitchen type implements, and if I recall correctly a meat grinder was one of them. Someone allowed as how that would be a terrible sort of gift. I didn't think so. I thought that if you had a big family something that helped save money on meals wasn't a bad gift at all. Of course, the fact was that I really wanted a meat grinder/sausage stuffer myself. We have so much lamb in our freezer, and making our own lamb sausage out of it is something I actually like to do. In the past I've been limited to bulk type sausage out of the lamb that the butcher ground (either country or Italian style). Well no more. Now I can branch out and make lamb kielbasa, link sausage, and sausage out of other meats. I can even make hot dogs. Because I got a meat grinder for Christmas!

This is no wimpy little thing like my mother had. This is no attachment to the mixer. This is a heavy duty piece of equipment that will handle pounds of meat easily. It has several different size sausage attachments, there's a local source for casings that I wasn't even aware of. Now all I have to do is get a book with lots of sausage recipes in it (I have a few) and I can really go to town. No more sausage buying for me, now I can do it myself. That means controlling the fat content, controlling the source of meat, controlling the type of meat, controlling the spice ratio.

As my husband pointed out, it also means we can make our own hash. It also means that when I make plum pudding next year I can run the suet through the meat grinder and avoid having to fish stringy bits out of the food processor. I'm sure we'll even think of other things to grind. My mother used her grinder for things like relish making. David is getting some different plates for it so that we can grind to different fineness than the one that came with it.

Now a lot of people would think that was a lousy Christmas gift. They'd prefer clothes or necklaces. However, my husband knew that this was something I'd actually been wanting. Call me a freak, but kitchen equipment like this is really something I like. He also got me a marvelous little pot for melting butter and chocolate, a bigger cast iron skillet, a magnet that gives metric/English conversions all the way down to 1/16th of a cup, some proper margarita glasses, and other kitchen type stuff. My son got me a new (and very heavy duty) blender. So the kitchen is better stocked today than it has been, and I have some new toys to play with.

My daughter, of course, took care of the more feminine and intellectual stuff. She got me a book I'd been wanting, some Father Brown DVD's, some lovely bath and body stuff, and some terrific socks from my new favorite socks market. Her best beloved got me a beautiful angel for the mantle and a lovely new ornament for the tree. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things because I'm not actually looking at the piles at the moment.

There are also those not so tangible gifts, like David doing most of the cooking on Christmas Day (with Gabe's help on the stuffing for the goose). The food was great and I was so glad that I'd done some things (like Auntie's tea cookies, the fruitcakes, and the plum pudding) ahead of time. One of the fun things for me was that I actually had food gifts to be able to give out. Over the course of Advent I made two batches of Marty Franklin's peanut clusters (thanks for the recipe Kris), and they made great presents for people. Some people were SO impressed with homemade candy. I felt guilty taking compliments because the recipe is SO easy. Of course we still have some peanut clusters left for us...

Oh, and I guess I should mention that it's nice to be a size 6 at Christmas. I"m going to have to go back to counting points next week, because I've let a couple of pounds creep on since Thanksgiving, but I decided that as long as it wasn't more than that, that this year I was going to feast when feasting, then fast when fasting like the Church teaches us to. However, since last year a size 6 was still a far off pipe dream, I guess I really can't complain about a couple of pounds. It's just nice to know how to take them back off again. A size 6 is my Christmas gift to me.

Now, as soon as the last Amazon package gets here, I can send a box of to Missouri with Christmas/Birthday/Epiphany gifts in it. I found one item that will make my niece laugh, but it also will tie her to her mom's and my past. This is a year when she's transitioning. She's finishing college and she's getting married. It's a good time for her to have some things that tie her to the past, as well as some things that prepare her for the future. I'm attempting to give her gifts that will do both.

Today, I'll finally do some Christmas cards. Because, after all, Christmas is a season, not just a day. I'll sit in front of the Christmas tree with the lights on. I'll sip tea and eat homemade fruitcake and ignore healthy guidelines for a couple more days. I'll grab the Wise Men out of the box and let them begin their trek towards the creche. So while the secular world is back to business as usual and looking towards New Year, I've still got more Christmas to celebrate. Now if I can just figure out sausage recipes that would go with some of these feast days... Well I'm all set.


At 6:06 AM, Blogger david santos said...

I wish you a good end of 2007 and a good year of 2008.


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