Sounds romantic, doesn't it? Our weeklong trip was just OK, since I got a cold the day after arriving and gave it to Gary for a Christmas gift. When we visit our friend Anita near Woodstock, New York the main focus is the Italian tradition of seven fish dishes on Christmas eve. Which always evolves into 17 different dishes. So that's what you do on the day before Christmas - cook.
We deveined shrimp, cleaned clam shells, prepared mussels, crab legs, and calimari. Fried the calamari and fried bread with anchovies inside. We had a baked scallop dish, a salmon dish, and a cod dish. Made sauce, of course, and broccoli rabe. Someone else brought a huge pot of cioppino!
Fortunately the table was set days ahead. Above is a real-life, unstyled, all-American dining table for 18. Anita, Gary, and I actually didn't eat much. And fortunately someone else washed the dishes. So that's the tradition. Is it worth it? I guess so.
Image at top: View of snowy sculpture garden at MOMA, Museum of Modern Art, a trip highlight!