At first glance, the men might look lazy, sitting around the living room while the women cook in the kitchen. Legs crossed in the “I don’t have anywhere to go until the turkey’s ready” position, they’re watching football but talking about baseball, (have we learned to clone men yet? because the Giants could be amazing in twenty years with a field full of Buster Poseys.) But in the men’s defense, they’ve usually asked if they could help, and they’ve been shooed out of the kitchen, because the women have it under control.
Let’s face it. If the women wanted, they could poison a dish that they knew the kids would never touch and they knew themselves not to touch. They could take down all the men with one cooking “accident.” Okay, that might be too risky, but the women at least know whether the best part of the creamed vegetables will be on the edge of the dish or in the center, and which side dish will give you heartburn later if you eat too much.
So there’s the control, but mostly what I think the men are missing out on is the warmth of the kitchen, the laughter, the Christmas music, the satisfaction of working together to make the party happen. The sweet and garlicky smells mingling, the reminiscing, the throwing scraps to the dog, the unexpected pleasure of washing the dust off glasses that haven’t been used since this time last year. The tasting desserts “to make sure they’re just right,” the updates on everyone’s kids, neighbors, old flames, houseplants.
That’s where the real holiday happens. In the kitchen.
At least I think so. I’m the youngest grown-up daughter, but I’m out with the men.