My first Christmas in France was one of many first. It was my first Christmas living and working abroad as an adult. It was my first Christmas living with my now-husband. And while I had been a long time Francophile, I still had a lot to learn about French customs, etc.
Living with someone for the first time in a normal situation is one thing, but throw in new country, new language and new holiday traditions and you have a recipe for misunderstandings (or as I labeled them at the time, and the source of my blog name, misadventures).
One of the many wonderful things about my now-husband is that he is the cook. It is in the French blood and his passion for food means I haven’t cooked in 10 years (lucky girl, I know)! So that first Christmas together we did our holiday shopping by buying a freshly butchered pintade (guinea fowl) at the Sunday market and finished up our shopping of oysters and foie gras and dinner accompaniments on December 23rd.
All in preparation for Christmas dinner. Or so I thought.
I woke up the morning of December 24th to a lot of noise coming from the kitchen. I stumbled out of bed to see what was going on (and to get coffee). I asked my husband, “What are you doing?” He said calmly, “Preparing Christmas dinner.” I found it very bizarre that he was preparing so much ahead of time for a dinner the following day, but I did not say anything as I am not the cook in the house!Later in the afternoon I was making myself a snack in the kitchen when my husband came upon me and asked what I was doing, that I was going to ruin my appetite. I said, “For what?” He said, “For Christmas dinner.” I of course said, “I hardly think a sandwich today is going to ruin my dinner tomorrow!”
At which point he looked at me like I was crazy! He informed that Christmas dinner was that evening. I countered with “how could Christmas Dinner be served on Christmas Eve, wouldn’t that be called Christmas Eve dinner (logical!)?”
And since then I have been eating Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve!