Christmas Stress: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime – Foodhappiness-athos

Do you remember learning about figures of speech at school: alliteration, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, synechdoche, metonymy, litote and the like?  One of them was, if you recall, ‘bathos’.   Bathos is all about a sudden descent in style, where a situation reels “from the sublime to the ridiculous”.

I was reminded of bathos on Christmas Eve, while I and my helpers were getting ready for the evening meal — only the situation wasn’t at all sublime, it was downright ridiculous. There was a plan, there was definitely a plan, but the outward manifestation of my master plan and the to-do list was one of messy disorder.  I have been cooking out of a small kitchen for as long as I can remember, so it’s not as if the situation were unexpected, but this year, I had not devoted enough attention to logistics and it showed miserably.  True, it was only family members who would be attending (all thirteen of us plus Aika the dog) but it got to the point where I wondered whether I would see light at the end of the skivvying tunnel and much heavy breathing and sighing ensued.  There was much to rejoice about but I wasn’t revelling in the moment.  This was the ‘ridiculous’ part, take a look for yourselves:

IMG_4727Cooking cauliflower fritters …

IMG_4726Shelling scallops …1 2 Boiling beans for the scallop and bean salad …
3Trimming carciofi and making the batter to fry them in …

IMG_4763Cooking the calamari for the potato and calamari salad …

IMG_4762Zucchine/courgette fritters:


IMG_4724And then frying and lots of frying …. and then putting the fried food away until further use:

IMG_4767And this is what the place looked like at the height of point ridiculous :


And then, as I toiled and tinkered,  and dealt with brain fog and just a hint of panic, people started to stream in and take their coats off,  and greet and kiss and exclaim until, blissfully, the first glass of bubbly arrived for me to enjoy.   I caught sight of the table my lovely daughter and sister had set for us, a veritable Winter Wonderland, and knew that all would be well.

If bathos is all about ‘from the sublime to the ridiculous”, what is its opposite? Foodhappiness-athos?

Because, in the world of cooking, I think that is what very often happens: there is a huge amount of mess and chaos and then, as if by magic, everything falls into place and order is restored and beauty, via good food, via food well presented with love and care, is there for all to behold and enjoy.

10 11 129And here are more pictures of the Holiday tables …


IMG_4739 IMG_4740And also …

IMG_4831IMG_4832IMG_4850And then there are the leftovers … the table may be set in less grand a style, but the atmosphere rocks on:



1013And here are two from among my favourite photos this year’s festive season:

IMG_4774A favourite uncle, my glamorous Ma … (she made 150 cappelletti from scratch for us to enjoy on Christmas day!) looking wonderful at 86.  Favourite Uncle makes the best cocktails, young people literally pop over when they know he’s around and line up for one of his specials!

IMG_4782Time for the aperitivo and a favourite nephew, gorging on oysters … he drinking coke and we enjoying the champagne.  The dog Aika behaving admirably … and a favourite brother-in-law resting his ailing leg.


Just for the record, I attended three funerals during the month of December, two of which were for people I knew as neighbours and the third for a best friend of my mother’s.  All were old enough to die, two were over ninety, so fortunately the sting of untimely tragedy did not add insult to their departure.  All left loved ones behind bereaving, however, because they had been lovely people to know, whatever their age.

I wonder whether people who read our food blogs think that perhaps we are insensitive to the troubles of the world.  I think otherwise.  I love my family, I love my friends, I usually like most people I get to know.  Organising and cooking meals and sharing food together is just my way, one of many ways, of celebrating life.

I raise a glass to you all, wishing you health, happiness and abundance in the forthcoming new year.  Buon Anno Nuovo a tutti!

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Contorni and/or side dishes, italian home food, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Christmas Stress: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime – Foodhappiness-athos

  1. Libby Morris says:

    Happy New Year my dear Jo…. love the photos of your wonderland of celebrations!!!!

  2. Lovely post, Jo! And lovely photos. I think writing a food blog is a great way to celebrate life … and I look forward to reading more of yours in 2013!! Felice anno nuovo!

  3. Francesca says:

    Happy New Year to you too!!! 🙂

  4. karen nakakihara says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post, Jo! I enjoy receiving your emails. You’re a lovely person and I hope you and your family have a very Happy New Year!

  5. I’m more than certain you and your guest thoroughly enjoyed their time with you. Have to tell you, my kitchen is even smaller. So small it’s like cooking in a caravan! Partly because of that I don’t entertain like I used to.
    Hope 2013 is everything and more for you.

    • Thank you Johnny and a very Happy New Year to you! Apologies for responding so late, have had problems with computer. Re the Kitchen … not sure that yours is smaller than mine! I should write a post about … cooking off the floor one of these days!

  6. Karen says:

    What a festive way to end the year. I wish you all the best in the new year.

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