There are rice people and there are potato people.
Every holiday we go through this. We sit down to figure out what to have for the main course. Ham? Turkey? Something else? it is rarely something else, though. Ham and turkey are just so easy to scale up to whatever group is coming that it just doesn’t pay to go too far outside of that zone. Unless it’s ravioli, but good ravioli are hard to come by out here in this Italian-deprived area. So ham or turkey it is, most of the time.
And then – side dishes.
There is always Aunt Linda’s Baked Pineapple Dish, which is both tasty and easy and we’re all about the easy around here. Plus it is sweet and tart and goes well with both ham and turkey (though not so much ravioli), which means it’s pretty universal. I don’t remember the last holiday meal without this on the table.
There are veggies, of course. The girls are big on peas, so we tend to do that most of the time, though sometimes we leap into the great unknown with some blend or other that we pick up along the way – usually something named after a foreign city for some reason. Or corn. We love corn. But that’s only a vegetable by marriage – really it’s a grain – so we’re never sure whether that counts or not. So foreign cities it is. We travel on our stomachs.
And then it is time for starch.
It’s never a bad time for starch. But which one?
My side of the family are rice people. I grew up with tables full of white rice, which is just heaven with butter and a sprinkling of black pepper, and on holidays we’d live it up with Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice – the true elixir of starchy goodness, plus all the salt you could ever want. No holiday meal is complete without that rice.
Kim’s side, on the other hand, are potato people. They reach for mashed potatoes with butter, freshly made (no box mixes for them, no sir), or perhaps sweet potatoes. Rice is just what you have when you can’t have potatoes.
My side likes our potatoes baked and sitting alongside steaks, or sliced and fried. But for holiday meals? Rice.
But in a marriage one must compromise and work out these details or else one party is aggrieved and eventually there will be therapy and bills. It’s cheaper just to figure this stuff out ahead of time.
So this year when we had Christmas dinner at our house?
We are rice people and potato people.