On Christmas day, my Sister #2 and her family gathered in a new spot--a restaurant that was closed to the public, but open for us and only us!
Our darling Nephew-in-Law #1 (on the right, below) is the manager. He was such a gracious host! He gave us the run of the place, turned the game on, showed us all the fun stuff behind the bar, and let us loose to play:
Oooh! Pretty bottles!:
The men especially seemed to have fun around, behind, and near the bar:
Maybe it was partly the attraction of the fancy computerized cash register, which could read employees' fingerprints, verify a person's age, and spit out little printouts of drink recipes. With this machine, a patron can order a "Fuzzy Bellybutton" or something equally obscure, and the bartender can make the drink, every time. No need to memorize hundreds of recipes!:
The Boy had a lot of fun messing around with this machine:
The bar's attraction might have had something to do with this gizmo, which can dispense different liquids with the touch of a button. Anything that looks like it has a handle and shoots stuff seems to attract men....
What is it with guys and Stuff That Shoots Stuff? This is Niece #4's Best Beau:
And this is Niece #4, striking a cute barmaid pose:
Here's my Nephew #3, looking handsome as ever:
Speaking of handsome, I am blessed to have these two dudes under my roof:
Drinks and nibbles in hand, we settled down to the serious task of having fun:
This is my sister's first grandson. Isn't he a cutie?
Daughter #2 and Grand-Nephew, getting some one-on-one time in:
Mistletoe alert: Incoming!
Meanwhile in the kitchen, those of us who wanted to cook got busy. There were potatoes to boil:
Milk to scald and butter to melt. Mmmm!
Here's my Sister #2, prepping something or other and laughing as her family swirls around her:
My super, computer-skilled Brother-in-Law #2 hacked in to the restaurant's computer to fix up a few things and make systems run better:
And I poked around the kitchen.
I love restaurant kitchens. I'm fascinated by the stacks and stacks of china:
They have things I'd never have, like steak knives by the dozens:
And enough plastic film to entirely wrap up a minivan:
Restaurant refrigerators are amazing places. Look how huge this is!
Even in such unfamiliar surroundings, we cooks got to work and turned out a delicious roast of beef:
My Nephew-in-Law-the-Manager's grandpa carved the beef to perfection:
I was in charge of making the batter for the Yorkshire Pudding:
I guess they don't do much blended stuff at this place--the blender was normal size.
Here's my mom's recipe for Yorkshire Pudding, in my sister's handwriting, with many spills attesting to its age. This recipe is fantastic!:
I'll include it at the end of this posting, so you don't have to strain your eyes making out the writing, okay?
Meanwhile Sister #2 and Niece #1 tackled the potatoes:
And Brother-in-Law #2 had a heckuva good time wielding this wicked-looking whisk. The mashed potatoes never had a chance!
Stand back! Men with power tools!
At the end of the night, we'd accumulated quite a lot of dirty glasses:
Nephew-in-Law showed The Hubby and The Boy how to use the three-sink system to wash and sanitize the glasses:
Here's a real Christmas miracle--The Boy washed a glass!:
And then he washed another one, and another, and another:
Hallelujah! Now, if only I could get him to do this at home....
By the end of the evening, we were starting to feel like a gingerbread man who'd been mangled by a five-year-old:
And when the bottles start looking like this:
We knew it was time to go home. Night-night, everyone!
1-1/2 C. milk
1-1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter or drippings from a roast
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a 9x13 casserole into the oven to heat up.
Pour milk into a bowl or blender. Combine dry ingredients; pour into bowl or blender. Blend until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Remove hot casserole dish from the oven; put butter or drippings into the heated pan; pour in the batter and return dish to the oven.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until pudding is puffed and golden.