Easter is coming early this year, and I just noticed that yesterday.
Which means I've got to get moving. You think it's too early to start getting ready for Easter dinner? No way. Cooking for a holiday takes organization. And timing. And I'm going to show you how to do it.
Maybe you've already got this, and you don't need me at all. Okay, fine. Maybe. But maybe you're an adventurous sort and - for the first time - want to invite all of your friends (who can't face another holiday meal with their bipolar relatives) over to your house. Maybe holiday meals are always at your house (bipolar relatives included) and you've managed, but you want it to be a little easier, since drinking before five (without a good reason) on most days shouldn't be your only option.
Or maybe, you used to be Secretary of State, and your washed-up husband has a habit of coming home, like, three days before any random holiday, and announcing that he and that yahoo hillbilly family of his will be having dinner at your house again, in spite of the fact that you've travelled to 122 countries in the last 36 months and now you've got to get ready to run for president and you're REALLY FREAKING BUSY.
Holidays are always terrifying. Not only do you have to cook and eat a piece of meat or poultry the size of a dwarf planet, but you also have to host a bunch of people who are not normally privy to your particular set of idiosyncrasies. So your house has to be reasonably clean, too, and you have to remember not to do anything that would disqualify you as a foster parent.
I mean, life is terrifying enough. As human beings, we are blessed with the awareness of our own mortality. Then, like rats caught in the maze of a scientist with a really bad attitude and given an electric shock every time we go for that tasty bit of provolone, we are constantly reminded that all the fun stuff - which could possibly make the whole mortality deal a little more bearable - is bad for us.
We NEED our holidays, times when all restrictions on hedonism are suspended, like in Japanese pachinko parlors. Holidays should be a time when we press the reset button on our sanity. In theory, at least. Instead, they're stressful. Take Thanksgiving, for example. Entertaining in the shadow of Black Friday is like celebrating Apocalypse Eve.
If you have small children and/or a job, it's even worse, and nobody's going to cut you any slack. Yeah, you'll get offers to help and people generally will "bring something". But that includes Aunt Mary Rose who's going to bring you a gallon of Gallo, which you have to drink because it would kill the grass.
You've got to make your own slack.
I've got this down to an exact science. It's the only way to go. Then it won't matter if your psychotic boss, who has no family or friends, and who's deathly afraid of that stoogahtz of a regional manager (who does have a family, but they hate him), tells you that you have to stay until 6 pm on the day before the holiday and be back at work at 7 am the day after. I've been there. I know.
You are welcome to cook my recipes, or you can roast boar's ribs if it floats your boat. What's important is the process. Whatever you cook, you should emerge from the experience fully ensconced as the family matriarch.
Which will forever spare you from spending your future holidays at Aunt Mary Rose's house, sitting on a plastic-covered couch, listening to the story about how her husband ran off with the 26-year-old Guatemalan gardener.
And drinking Gallo.