This Christmas was especially special in so many ways. Not only did we pack up our clan and move across the country, yet again, days before Christmas, but we pulled off one of the most memorable (and delicious!) Christmas celebrations in Bateman family history.
Much of the reason we decided to move to Georgia was because we would be much closer to family. Austin, Texas was a bit of a hike and now with 4 children we want these babes to grow up near their family, not just fantastic BBQ and great live music! So, we settled on a sweet little town called Marietta and everyone liked the idea so much they decided to road-trip it up to our new home 2 days after move in and have a party, welcoming us with Southern charm and fanfare!
As with most families, every guest brings their unique personality and character qualities that make for a one-of-a-kind patchwork quilt of memories. That’s family. It is warm. It is cozy. It is colorful!!
One of the most wonderfully colorful patches in my family quilt come in the form of “The Butchers”. Aunt Gail and Uncle Mark, two of the most interesting, talented, creative and hysterical people I know. Because she works for an airline and he works for a hotel, it is so difficult to have them together at any holiday celebration. Historically, one of them inevitably had to work and sometimes the other would come solo. Sometimes neither could make it and they were sorely missed! Time with the two of them is rare and precious. I believe the last Christmas I had with the Butchers (both of them) I was a small child.
So, having them come to MY house for Christmas was monumental! And to add to the greatness of the occasion my Uncle Mark is a…drum roll please…chef! A professional chef! A 34 years and running professional chef. He was a chef before Bobby Flay made it cool and he could probably take him down in a Christmas stuffing throw-down!
The story keeps getting better, but I’ll recap the details. Move into dream house, big family Christmas, Uncle Mark and Aunt Gail, he is a chef AND oh wait, there’s more…he has offered to cook Christmas dinner! All I have to do is make is the turkey. What a blessing! It has to be the bomb turkey, but I can manage if that’s the only thing I’m responsible for.
The day comes, the beautiful 20lb bird is in the brining bag and has been for 18+ hours, becoming more tender and flavorful by the minute and in walks Uncle Mark. He unloads ingredients, a fantastic set of knives (best I have ever used), and gets to work. He is effortless! He has 3 sous-chefs doing his bidding (his sweet Mama, myself and my mother-in-law). Aunt Gail had a cute apron and a task, but she was more interested in running around decorating my new home. Fine by me! (To be fair, she got around to her cranberry cornbread eventually).
Within about 2hrs all of Christmas dinner had been prepped and assembled, we were just timing everything against the turkey. As you might expect, every side was timed perfectly! It all came out together, was spread across the counter top and looked like a feast prepared by a professional. Oh, that’s right, it was prepared by a professional! And yours truly