I have really been looking forward to this Friday Night Dinner, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. What, you say? Wouldn’t it have been better if it had lined up with, say, December? I disagree. Reason #1: October 1st in Texas and the high temp was 93 degrees. Gag. I am so ready for some Christmas. There may (high probability) be Christmas music playing as I write this post. Reason #2: last night was the last Red Sox/Yankees game of the season; what better way to celebrate than with a good burger?
Burger? First pudding, then burgers? Who would serve a burger at a fancy Christmas dinner? Well, not Emily Gilmore. Thanks to the neglect of describing her dinner, I can have some fun with this one. As you recall, Lorelai and Emily are on the outs after Rory’s ill-fated end to her dance last week. Emily therefore disinvites Lorelai to the Christmas dinner, to the latter’s complete amazement. In her words, “There’s good food, these amazing apple tarts, big tree. It’s the only holiday I actually enjoy going over there for and this year, I’m uninvited.” Can you blame her? I am totally in the Lorelai camp on this one. Christmas is magical; snow is transforming; Christmas music is an anti-depressant; a house decorated for Christmas becomes warmer, beautiful; and the people inside become more loving and happier. I am not naive. I know that this fairy tale view is not and cannot be everyone’s. Religious beliefs may conflict, and I hurt for the people who are alone at Christmas, or have other negative associations attached. To me, though, it truly is the “most wonderful time of the year.” Thankfully, most of my Christmas memories do include snow and cutting our own tree; only the past few have coincided with… Texas. Thinking about this post gave me a brilliant bucket list entry: when our kids are older– maybe 10 and 12?– we are going to spend Christmas in a small German town. Advent, St. Nikolaus, Weihnacktsmarkte, caroling, choirs, Christmas goose… so much of what we know about Christmas originated here. How magical will that be?
But I digress. What are we having for dinner? The Gilmores evidently had something “delicious,” but the contents are left up to the imagination. Perhaps traditional goose? The only thing mentioned over and over are Emily’s famous apple tarts, about which, according to Rory, Lorelai has made up songs describing the fact that she can’t live without them. Once again, I appreciated the symbolism used by the writers. Why not apple tarts, when both Emily and Lorelai have again used their tart words to cause a breach? Apple tarts, then, must be on the menu. Instead of looking up a recipe, I decided to utilize my knowledge of apple pie and Pillsbury and just wing it. Here’s my loose definition of a recipe:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- two tart apples (I used McIntosh because they are my favorites, but Granny Smith would work well, too.)
- healthy dashes of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg
- just a wee bit of sugar
- refrigerated crescent rolls (I only used one package, making 4 large tarts, but there would have been enough filling for two packages)
Peel, core, and dice apples. Mix with cream cheese, sugar, and spices. Unroll crescent rolls (try not to jump a mile when the package pops like I do– horrid things). Pinch two crescent rolls together to make squares. Place a heaping spoonful of apple mixture into the center of the square and bring the corners up to meet the middle. Bake per package directions until golden brown. Oh, so yummy! I realized that they didn’t have the bubbly look that a traditional apple pie filling would have, but the addition of cream cheese is a winner, in my opinion. Undoubtably, they aren’t as good as Emily’s, because were hers this easy to make, even Lorelai could have done it herself and negated the need for a formal dinner. Easy is not a drawback here, though! I’m very satisfied with the lazy man’s tarts.
Now for the Santa burger. I’m pretty sure that a casual Gilmore Girls viewer would not know what this is. Even my husband, who against his will has become more indoctrinated in Gilmore Girls lore than he ever anticipated, said upon viewing the Santa burger, “What. Is. That?” That, my friend, is a true expression of love. It’s the result of the curmudgeon Luke, who despises all holiday trappings and mocks traditions, trying to cheer up an ousted Lorelai, who is unnaturally despondent about missing dinner at her parent’s house. She asks for something festive, or a holiday special, of course knowing that Luke would have no such thing at his diner. He comes back with this, and provokes this response:
LORELAI: What did you do?
LUKE: You wanted something festive.
LORELAI: You made me a Santa burger.
LUKE: It’s not a big deal.
LORELAI: He has a hat and everything.
LUKE: Yeah, I just cut a piece of wonder bread, you know, poured a little ketchup, piped on a little cream cheese.
LORELAI: No one has ever made me something quite this disgusting before. I thank you.
LUKE: You’re welcome.
If you are interested, here is the burger recipe I typically use. It’s easy and the burgers turn out very juicy! With no further ado, here is the lineup: my Santa burger on the left and the original on the right.
Ha, ha! Kudos to the props crew– this was a lot harder than it looked. Didn’t help that I neglected to soften the cream cheese first, and tried piping it with a Ziplock bag. At least it’s kid-friendly, right? Chompers thought it was fascinating and ate almost everything… except the actual burger, of course. Ketchup and cream cheese? Why not? You can see his initial reaction on the Toddler Cam. Husband and I ate more traditionally dressed burgers while watching the game.
Sigh. I’m not sure I can go back to regular life after this. I’ve come to an important conclusion, though: over the past two years, I realized that starting to watch my vast collection of Christmas movies after Thanksgiving just doesn’t give me enough time to see them all before Christmas, not to mention try out some new ones or the sappy ones on the Hallmark channel. October, then, is my new start date. If they bring so much joy, why relegate them to one short month? I was rewarded for my Christmas joy by receiving a Christmas baby almost two years ago. He may resent it someday, as I’ve heard some Christmas babies do, but you can be sure that I will do my best to indoctrinate him with my Christmas fervor.
Feel free to continue the Christmas love! What are your traditions, your favorite movies, your must-make foods, your dream Christmas destinations? Oh, by the way, you should have been hearing an endless loop of “Thanks For Christmas” as you read this post. You weren’t? So sorry– must be your computer settings. Feel free to start singing it now, and let it bring a smile to your face. 🙂