Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Miracle

About 10 years ago my in-laws bought a Prime Rib for Christmas dinner. No matter what meat is served, usually ham, we also do a meat-less lasagna since my sister-in-law Jennifer is a vegetarian

Anyway, I roasted the rib to rosy-pink perfection and served it with a Porcini au jus. It was magnificent. As we sat and ate - you know, one of those meals that are so good everyone sto
ps talking (which for a large Italian family is quite a rarity) - I could see Jennifer starring at the prime rib as she ate her meat-less lasagna and meat-less salad.

All of a sudden she said, "Okay, cut me a slice, I have to try this." I waited a moment to see if she was kidding, but her bloodthirsty stare said "cut the meat, and cut it now." It was, and still is my proudest moment as a chef. Bringing a vegetarian back over from the dark side is usually one of those tall tales cooks tell over a post-service beer.

She had been a vegetarian since high school, and except for a little fish here and there, it had probably been five or six years since she had eaten meat. I sat in complete awe as she torn into that slice of beef, making all the right noises and smiling like only perfectly cooked meat can make you smile. It's a facial expression that no salad has ever produced.

I now refer to this as "the Christmas Miracle," and we reminisce about it every year. By the way, it's Jennifer's birthday today and I get her the same thing every year, a pot of lobster bisque that has become somewhat of a Christmas Eve ritual for the family.
Happy birthday Jennifer!

And a very Merry Christmas to all of you from Michele and I! You've helped make 2008 a breakthrough year for Food Wishes, and I can't express how much I've appreciated the support and participation. I look forward to an even better 2009 and wish you all the same. Enjoy!

Peace and Love,
Chef John

Photo (c) krisdecurtis

23 comments:

Skye said...

Great story, and although a little unexpected, I'm not much surprised knowing your cooking skill.

Merry Christmas!

babagirl said...

A very Merry Christmas to you and your family,too! I found your blog about a couple months back when I was looking for a Lamb recipe---Since then,I come back often and watch your videos/read your blog....You really inspire me! And the grilled lamb chops w/the orange mint glaze were to DIE for!!Thanks,Chef John!!

servlet said...

Bravo, chef! I'd love to experience that kind of food miracle.

My Christmas Eve challenge this year is preparing several vegetarian, gluten-free dishes to take to my in-laws. Thank heavens they are not vegans!

PrimeBrit said...

Chef...

You comments are well received because it's such a chore to have to not only visit the site, but to also have the time to watch and learn. It's no fun being the star of the show at home for the family, or for those times we have to cater for friends who are always in awe of my culinary talents.

I tell those close to me about you, but I don't want to burden everyone with having to visit your site to learn new methods and techniques.

So, Merry Christmas Chef, to you and yours, and understand that I will support and participate as long as there is foodwishes.com

Jewels said...

Merry Christmas Chef John, and all the very best for the upcoming new year. :)

Greg said...

Hallelujah on the vegetarian conversion!

Merry Christmas to the Food Wishes team and family.

eve+line said...

A very happy Christmas to you and your family too! I'm an aspiring vegetarian but I do love to watch your meat videos too just because you make it look so easy and enjoyable to cook! Keep on cooking!

dan said...

Chef John,

A very Merry Christmas to you and you family. Thanks for all the great recipes and techniques. I will be ordering the dvd shortly. By the way, the no-knead bread and pizza dough worked out perfectly and are now on my regular rotation.

Dan

Jim said...

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours Chef John and thank you for all you have shared with us this past year. I wish you much success in the coming year and will always support this blog. In fact I believe its time for another little donation.

Rosko said...

Merry Christmas, Chef!

As an Orthodox Christian who has done his best to avoid meat and dairy where and when ever possible, I can say with great joy that meat is back on the menu until Lent. I always love your videos, and have learned much from them. I even made creme fraiche just to have to celebrate!

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

May 2009 be a great year for you, your wife, and foodwishes.

Drew said...

Merry Christmas John...Keep up the good work...

Bill W, NH said...

Merry Christmas Chef. Although I had no plans to do so, I'm making your prime rib today. We went 4 days without power last week in frigid weather and this week we have received 3 feet of snow. One of my daughters and my two grandchildren were to be here but their flight was cancelled. We would have had a turkey but now since it's just the two of us we're having the prime rib. I sure hope it works since nothing else has. Nonetheless, we're happy.

Rosko said...

PS-I should have worded that "As an Orthodox Christian who has done is best to avoid meat and dairy whenever possible during the Advent Fast"

Merry Christmas!

Watchman said...

Just as meat can be made in the cooking so a story can be made is in the telling. A story well told Chef. Well Done.

Bill W, NH said...

yet more bad news, my girlfriend gave me a Bravo approved Top Chef apron for Christmas and then told me to pack my knives and go.

Chef John said...

Bill, I assume you're kidding. If not, at least you got an apron.

Danny said...

Chef John,
A very Happy Christmas to you and yours. That is amazing. I had a veg friend who staved off one of the best medium rare rib eye steaks I've had for their salad.
For Christmas I got a set of CorningWare and your DVD! And now I'm making your (French) Onion Soup for my beret. Thank you for all of your help. Have a Happy New Year!

dandelion said...

Thank you for thinking of us on Christmas :) I am curious what kind of wine did you serve with the roast? Also please post the porcini au jus recipe. I would like to make the complete meal.
Happy New Year!

tobeng said...

Fantastic story, merry xmas Chef! and a happy new year

Bill W, NH said...

ah, delish. We had your version of Prime Rib last night. I didn't have to go either!

rjx said...

Hi Chef John. I love the blog and all the videos!!

I just wanted to say hello. I am going to attend the basic food preparation class over at Mission College in Santa Clara and I was interested in Mozo shoes and was thinking you should format your Mozo advertisement to be clickable. That way Mozo could track how many hits they receive from your site.

Is there a place in the bay area where I could purchase their shoes? I was interested in the Biz-Lo wide 12EE and their site only has the 9EE.

Thanks

Chef John said...

I'm wearing mine right now! I can't put a link in the header. I'm not sure about the size. I would call the customer service number and ask how to get that size. Good luck!

Gulfdiver said...

YAY.. Great recipe! and Merry Christmas.. Now I hope you don't think your going to get away with mentioning the Lobster Bisque and not posting a video for it.. now did you? :)