My husband Jimmy recently passed away. This is in his honor…
Yes, I meant to write "The Christmas Eve Eel", not "The Christmas Eve Elf." I certainly understand your skepticism because eels aren't usually associated with Christmas Eve unless, of course, you grew up in an Italian American family that celebrated Christmas Eve with a seven course fish dinner. Read on...
The year was 1974. My then future husband Jimmy had survived his first meeting with my father, a police chief in the town in New Jersey where I was born and raised. But that experience would prove to be a "walk in the park" compared to what he would experience at the first Christmas Eve dinner with my Italian family.
We arrived at Aunt Sue's tiny apartment. When the family was gathered around the kitchen table, the seven fish courses were presented. First appeared shrimp cocktail.
So far, so good - Who doesn't love shrimp cocktail? There was spaghetti with an olive oil/garlic sauce with anchovies. Spaghetti, well, that was OK, but the anchovies were iffy. But eager to please as my Jimmy was, he tasted the spaghetti, anchovies and all. Following that were smelts, flounder, two different preparations of cod fish, and finally the "piece de resistance", marinated eels.
Try as he might, my poor, sweet, Irish Jimmy, just couldn't bring himself to taste the eel. Come to think of it, neither could I.
The dinner ended and after which we all walked to church and then headed home.
Meanwhile my father was a bit under the weather so did not partake in the festivities that year, but he asked us to bring back a little bit of everything. We prepared the plates to take home to my dad and placed them on the floor of Jimmy's car.
For weeks after that fateful night Jimmy complained about a foul odor emanating from the floor of the car. The source of that odor was none other that the marinade from the Christmas Eve eel.
My dear, precious Jimmy, you don't have to worry about Christmas Eve eel where you are now. You can enjoy your mom's pot roast, my mom's typical Sunday dinner: pasta, "chicken in the oven" and a "nice" salad. Everyday will be a good day to barbeque your prime porterhouse steaks or enjoy one of my special Thanksgiving or chicken parmesan dinners. But no more eels. God would never permit something so malodorous in His heavenly abode.
Dedicated to Jimmy my strong, courageous, loving and loyal husband.
March 5, 1945-December 1, 2012 Rest in peace my "little boy."