Tuesday, December 7, 2010
A VERY MARILYN CHRISTMAS
We kids would spend Christmas Eve staring out our picture window at the sky, hoping to see Santa approaching. Most years we went to bed for the night and woke in the morning to a treasure trove of gifts mostly purchased by Mom at Toyland in Marshall Field's – the original downtown store. Our evening was spent devouring Mom's hot hors d'oveures, chip dip made with diced shrimp, eggnog, sherbert punch and of course, the cookies. There were two Christmases where my mother decided to have close friends over for drinks and hors d'oveures after Midnight Mass. On those two occasions we went to bed early, but were woken up by the arrival of the guests and discovered that Santa had already visited our house. After opening the gifts I remember indulging in what was left of the cocktails in the glasses on the counter in the kitchen. That was probably the last time I ever tasted a whiskey sour. Being up so late on Christmas Eve made it difficult for Mom to put together our Christmas dinner, so that was a short- lived tradition.
Speaking of Christmas dinner, it began with homemade meat and/or cheese ravioli prepared by my grandmother Josephine in her tiny kitchen in her tiny home in the old Italian neighborhood on 69th street. That would have been good enough for me but then there was the prime rib roast with double-baked potatoes, a vegetable, salad and rolls. Most likely there was a home baked pie or pies, but I was probably content with the cookies and cannot recall if I ever bothered with pie. Sometimes our dinner was preceded by a visit from my Uncle Pepi Mazziotti. I used to laugh myself silly at my uncle. For some reason he was the designated deliverer of the wine for our dinner and on one occasion, when I was 13, he gave this here niece just a little too much Chianti so that I laughed myself even sillier than usual and was pretty much useless after dinner. My father was not amused.