I didn’t cook an Easter dinner this year – the traditional meat is either ham or lamb, and I do ham at other times, whenever the local grocery has a sale on spiral-sliced ham. And the only lamb we get up here in the wilderness of far northern New England is either boneless leg of lamb, which is . . . okay, if you like lamb, and the occasional lamb chop, about which I can only say, if I’m going to spend that much money on a piece of meat, I want something a bit larger than your average lollipop.
Also, all of my festive impressive-piece-of-meat dinners (the roast turkey, the crown roast of pork, that sort of thing) were developed back in the days when we had five or six people in residence, several of them
bottomless pits teenagers, instead of two or at most three regular adults. It’s one thing to orchestrate a meal like that when you’ve got one kid who can do gravy and a fancy dessert, and another kid who can help you with all the pies, and another couple of kids who can slice and stir and keep an eye on things, and all you need to do by your own self is make the white sauce for the creamed onions and maybe wrangle the meat (unless my husband and co-author has decided to deep-fry it for a change.) It’s another thing altogether to manage it mostly on your own.
So this year we let somebody else cook it. Under normal conditions, we’d have made reservations somewhere nice; this year, we ordered the Take and Bake Easter Dinner for four from the Common Man restaurant in Ashland NH, and brought the various components back to the house in a large paper tote. It all looked good; some of it was meant to cook in the oven and some of it on the stovetop and some of it in the microwave, and there was a lot of it — sliced ham, glazed roasted brussels sprouts, seasonal vegetables with thyme and garlic, scalloped potatoes, mascarpone mashed potatoes (an extra side, just because we could), maple mashed sweet potatoes, cheesecake with raspberry compote, and dinner rolls with seasoned butter — for what was in fact a quite reasonable price.
And indeed, it was all good — at least two meals’ worth, and maybe more. Jim Macdonald had a good time synchronizing all of the cooking directions so that the oven stuff, the stovetop stuff, and the microwave stuff all came out and onto the table together. For my part, I had a good time leaving him to it.
Kudos to the Common Man Restaurant in Ashland, the purveyors of the feast!