I just got home from making our family’s bûche de noël with Mémère, the third my grandmother and I have made together. It’s a tradition I look forward to every year and I’d like to think that under her tutelage I’m becoming an increasingly seasoned apprentice of sorts. I did forget to put two tablespoons of butter in the cake, so I’m convinced I need at least a few more years of her looking over my shoulder to get it just right. Mémère, having earned her stripes years ago, took it in stride, assured me everything would be fine, and shared a few of her own stories of bûches gâchées. Since there’s over a cup of butter in the recipe, I don’t think anyone will miss those few measly tablespoons anyway.
Christmases are a low-key affair at our house these days. There aren’t any little kids around, so it’s less about Santa and presents then it is about good food and company. All of these stories of people getting trampled for that hot new toy seem miles away. Instead, my mother and I spent the last few days leisurely shopping at some of our favorite places, and picked up some little amuse-geules for the Christmas table. I’ve had dinners with my parents and des bons moments avec ma grand mère.
One thing that’s missing from the usual family get-together is my sister. This is the first Christmas she’s been away — off in Australia and New Zealand taking risks, having adventures and finding her own way. She’ll be missed at the Christmas table, but we couldn’t be more proud of her.
Tomorrow morning everyone will gather at my parents’ for brunch and then again at Mémère’s in the evening. The sausage and egg casserole is in the fridge, ready to be popped in the oven when everyone starts stirring. The croissants and brioches are on order at the bakery down the street for me to pick up, hot and fresh in the morning. There’s a standing rib roast to prep, new potatoes to roast, champagne and cheese, and of course, la bûche. Living across the country has made me relish these moments with family all the more and the restful, leisurely pace of it all has been such a warm, welcome comfort. I wish you all the same and then some.
Joyeux Noël à tous et toutes and all the best this holiday season,