Back from the Front: Holiday meal report

How was your holiday meal, and what did you eat?

Here's what awaited me at my MIL's on Xmas eve, after a 40-mi. drive from NJ to Queens which took over 3 hrs. in bumper-to-bumper traffic:

Appetizer/Nosh--a small bowl of unsulphered dried prunes and pitted dates.

Salad--wilted red leaf lettuce, a few shards of bell pepper, a sad tomato, and spoiled mushrooms. Bottle of Kraft Italian dressing on the side (ingredients: water, sugar, canola oil, xanthan gum, spices).

Main course--baked chicken breasts, straight from the supermarket package into the oven, no seasoning whatsoever, no sauce, but yellow skin intact.

Homemade applesauce--Granny Smiths, peeled, quartered, covered with water and boiled for 30 min. Nothing else in it.

Mashed potatoes--peeled red potatoes boiled in unsalted water to disintegration, then held over in hot water for several hours. Drained, mashed with milk, no butter, salt, or pepper. Looked like wallpaper paste, tasted like the vacuum of outer space.

MIL's signature side dish (served at every holiday meal)--Unseasoned broccoli, steamed on the stove from the time we arrived to service (1 hr., 15 min.) I kid you not.

Dessert--Two white bakery boxes tied with string on the kitchen counter looked promising, but, only after I asked for dessert were we served a plate with three, tiny rugalach (for 4 people), plus a few homemade spritz cookies, which were burned on the bottom, and looked like they were made by a 4-year-old in an E-Z Bake Oven.

And, my wife had to clear and clean up after the meal, because MIL was too tired from "cooking all day".


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