In all the years we’ve been together, M and I have celebrated New Years Eve in a restaurant only twice. In the ‘90’s, one of our Roundabout subscription performances fell on a Sunday that was New Year’s Eve. Once the show was over, we had an early dinner in Manhattan (6 p.m.), and then skedaddled back to NJ.
The second time was in 2000. J was in France, so we decided to stay in the apartment and celebrate New Year’s Eve in a neighborhood restaurant that was a favorite at that time, Park Bistro. It turned out to be a disaster! I started feeling a bit under the weather in the afternoon. By the time we got to the restaurant, it had escalated to the point where I couldn’t enjoy the meal or the festivities. In the morning, I woke up feeling lousy. And things went from bad to worse when my brother called to tell me that my mother had been hit by a car near her place in West Palm Beach. Not exactly a jolly start to that new year!
In the early days of our marriage, we did New Year’s Eve parties with friends in someone’s home. After J was born, we started a tradition with one of my closest friends: a fondue party. Our children were included, and we alternated houses each year. We stopped doing it when the kids were in their teens and preferred to party with their friends. After that, M and I celebrated quietly together at home: dinner and a movie. For many years, I cooked an elaborate, multi-course meal with main courses like rack of lamb and magret de canard. A few years ago, M suggested that we do a fondue again. Though it was just the two of us, it was still fun. The fact that it’s also much less work for me is a plus. This is now the third year we’ve done it.
M selects a wine for himself. It’s a beef fondue. Ergo, a red.
We start with a simple green salad dressed with a vinaigrette.
The components are ready.
I buy filet mignons and cut them up myself.
There is a wide variety of sauces one can make, as well as other condiments. Since thre are four divisions on the fondue plate, I’ve narrowed things down to the four sauces we like best. Horseradish and mustard are in the rear, garlic and tarragon in the front.
A side dish of Swiss Rösti Potatoes:
The beef is cooked in peanut oil.
When I did those elaborate dinners, I’d make desserts like a tarte tatin or a soufflé. Now, I’ve taken to asking M what he wants. Invariably, his answer is ice cream. For him this time, it’s two scoops of Breyer’s vanilla, Kahlua, and whipped cream.
I did the clean-up before making dessert for myself: Breyer’s vanilla, bananas, chocolate syrup, Kahlua, and whipped cream.
A few years ago, we started listening to the “Classical Countdown,” on WQXR. It’s the top 40 classical pieces voted by listeners. #1 every year: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. It supposed to end just before midnight though sometimes it goes over.
We always watch the ball drop. Forget Dick Clark and his Rockin’ whatever! We really miss the good old days when Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadian band, whom we jokingly refer to as Guy Lombago and his Boiled Canadians, presided over that classy hotel ballroom where folks were dressed in gowns and tuxedos. Well, yes, some of them did wear silly party hats, but still…
To end our private celebration, we always watch a movie. This year, it was the biopic of Edith Piaf, La Vie en Rose.
Happy New Year!