Christmas, Food and Drink


I used to see my father-in-law and my sister-in-law from the first marital go-round whip up something with the livers while our holiday turkey cooked slowly in the oven. I knew they made pate, but what they did to make it appear remained as much a mystery to me as getting an accent mark over the final "e" in this blog post (cut-and-paste worked for the title). 

paté — there it is, but I can't seem to paste it where I want and I get a different font and when I do paste it, I'm sent back to the beginning of the post.


Cooking by myself, with only the assistance of my children, feels sort of like that. I have ideas, and I paid attention to *some* things, but now that we don't do the holidays themselves with certain parts of the family, I am on my own if I want to make

paté — here we go again.

I looked it up online: turkey liver

paté — sigh —

one message board discouraged the use of turkey liver for such a purpose, as it has too strong a flavor. A blog suggested using such massive amounts of butter that I felt sure eating the product would be unwise.

Finally I decided to fake it, based on what I remembered as best I could, and #1 Son offered to help, since he was in the kitchen helping bring about Christmas dinner anyway. It seemed appropriate that #1 Son should help me, since I ate my first


(that's getting tiresome now)

pregnant with him. After that I craved it, and I remember making a
homemade version in the blender. It was 1986 or 7, and it would be many
years before I had a food processor. I don't know if this version
really meets the definition.

paté — yes, the cursor went back to the start again, but here we go with the recipe:

Ingredients for Turkey Liver Pate (just imagine the accent mark this time)–

turkey livers as found in your bird, chopped in small pieces

one onion, chopped small (ours was medium)

half a stick of butter

one apple, peeled and chopped coarsely

We put all of this in a saute pan (not even going there on the accent mark, I hope you understand) and cooked until the livers were medium well, by my standards, then added a little red wine.


1/4 cup red wine

There were some spices, too:


Ground pepper

Cinnamon (a sprinkle)

Nutmeg (a little less even)

Fennel seeds–I had nothing to do with this, it happened behind my back and the only measurement admitted by #1 Son was "a few seeds."

I guess these were all actually there before the wine.

We brought this to a boil, then took it off the heat and added

1/4 cup half and half (though I must admit these liquid measurements are approximate)

We put it all into the food processor and let fly!

Then we put it in a bowl, because there are no small terrines here, Santa. You might want to consider that next year. We refrigerated it about an hour.

paté — wow, it was a long way back that time — was served along with cheese and crackers before Christmas dinner and declared delicious by all — well, except maybe Pure Luck, who ate some when I told him to close his eyes and then gave it to him on a cracker. "It's not anything I would seek out on my own."

Oh well.

This whole Christmas felt like a return to "home," as I realized I was doing things not to suit anyone else but because they were things *I* liked to do. I ironed a tablecloth, and I chose particular glasses that made one of my children laugh and another ask how to pick up such a long-stemmed contraption. I made gravy the way my former sister-in-law taught me, but fixed stuffing from a box just like my mother. We had a good meal and a rousing game of Apples to Apples over dessert.

We were six, my husband and I and the three children and their father.

We laughed until tears came into my eyes, more than once. We read the Christmas cards from far and near and looked at pictures of weddings and babies and cousins and friends and the grandchildren of schoolmates (well, not my schoolmates).

And it felt like 


not what everyone else would seek out on a Christmas night, but somehow right for us.

6 thoughts on “Paté”

  1. Oh, Songbird, I LOVE this post! So delightful, the way you worked the struggle over accents and spacing into the message… Along with the fennel seeds, I detect a hint of e.e. cummings(.)
    Christmas in our household is an awkward guessed-at recipe too. Things and people don’t always end up quite where we intend, yet it somehow turned out all right. Bless you and yours!

  2. And you, mainecelt! I saw your Facebook comment about the cookbook and smiled.
    weaverwoman, it’s a lesson learned after much self-induced suffering.

  3. A lovely post!
    And here is a gift to you. If you are typing on a PC rather than a Mac, this is how you can easily type an e with an acute accent (é) in any typeface you want: Position your cursor where you want the accented e. Press the Num Lock button to lock the number keypad on. Then while holding down the Alt key, press these keys on the number keypad one after the other: 0233. Ta-da! There’s your é!
    You can get all the accented and other special characters you want by using the same method, only with different numeric sequences. Here is a list of the keyboard shortcuts (Alt plus number sequences) for the PC and the Mac to get various special characters:
    Or you can use Word’s Character Map feature to find them and copy and paste them into your document. To find the Character Map, follow this sequence: Start > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map. A box showing all sorts of plain letters, accented letters, and symbols will open up. Choose the font that you want. Then find the letter or character that you want, double-click it, click the Copy button within the Character Map box, place your cursor where you want the item to appear, and click Paste on the toolbar. If you use this method, you may have to fix the item’s formatting to match the surround text. For example, the font might match, but the point size might not. You can make it match by highlighting some of the surrounding text, clicking the Format Painter button (looks like a paintbrush) on the toolbar, and then highlight the pasted item. Voilà!

  4. Yes, cutting and pasting into TypePad leaves much to be desired…but not this post. I love your finding your own way to what you want.

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