Hopefully, your Christmas turkey won’t be attacked by a pack of neighboring dogs running through the back door like in the 1983 classic film A Christmas Story. However, just in case your kid feigns an icicle attack to cover that he almost shot his eye out and said shenanigans lead to the open door for dogs to come in…just remember to be open to other dinner plans.
Not even Ralphie’s loving and patient mom was about to go back in that kitchen to fix another turkey. It was the the middle of the afternoon on Christmas! That’s why dad took Christmas day by the horns and rustled his family together before their tastebuds could fully recognize what they were going to miss. In the process, Ralphie and his family got introduced to something new for Christmas—Peking duck, a traditional northern Chinese dish often distinguished by it’s crispy golden brown skin.
I saw this movie when I had just turned 12 years old. I didn’t see it on the 24-hour TBS marathon; I saw it at a movie theatre in Manhattan in 1983. And oh my goodness, A Christmas Story was one of the funniest movies I had ever seen. There was a true LOL moment in pretty much every scene.
It’s the end of the movie, however, that brought the true culinary teachable moment. This is when this Brooklyn-born, Queens living girl learned that Christmas dinner didn’t have to be served at home or over the river and through the woods at Grandma’s house.
More revelations…Christmas dinner didn’t have to include a turkey, and in some cultures they actually cook and eat their bird with the head attached. This may sound basic to you but these were monumental discoveries for a kid that wasn’t growing up in the age of 24-hour cooking channels and culturally specific foodie shows.
Watching A Christmas Story became a reference point for me to want to shake it up when it comes to the Christmas meal. In fact, when I spent my first Christmas out of the country in Puerto Rico, the culture was different, the food was not mom’s, grandma’s or any one of my aunties’. Nonetheless, it was all okay. And I even knew exactly what to order… I went for the duck.