Day 233– November 27, 2014

I try to cook fanciful meals for my family. One Christmas, I provided kangaroo. Another holiday, I brought turducken followed another year with a messy Beef Wellington. This year, I attempt rack of lamb for Thanksgiving. Mom sourced three racks from the local grocery store at exorbitant cost. Although we can afford such extravagance, I worry to spend so much on a single meal.

For most of these fanciful feasts, I have never eaten or cooked before what I serve. As guidance, Greg sends along a rack of lamb recipe from Cooks Illustrated. Lambs looks simpler and faster to cook than a Thanksgiving turkey.

The triplet brothers return home tired at eleven from their morning race. We pause for beer, cheese and crackers, then start cooking the big afternoon meal. Ray simmers a roast cauliflower soup. Andrea prepares asparagus and a quinoa salad.

Near sunset, the nine Dudeks and Thies gather at the dinner table for an extravagant meal. Andrea says grace for gratefulness. We dive into a pleasant bounty of plenty. We rest before serving Dad’s amazing apple pie. Everyone is happy. The gathering tradition passes along from my dear departed grandparents in Henniker, New Hampshire to my parents’ house in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Long after dinner, Ray and I depart west to Charlton, MA and the home of his friend Todd. There isn’t enough room at the inn back with my parents, so Ray and I seek shelter elsewhere for the evening. Todd welcomes us into his warm house with libations.

Todds organizes a double-blind tasting of high-alcohol Belgian quad beers. Todd magnanimously opens a rare bottle of West Vleteren XII, scored as the best beer in the world, and usually only available in limited quantity from the monastery in west Belgium.

I prefer some of the other Belgian quads to the West Vleteren XII. Sometimes it is better to like the cheaper stuff. Ray’s friend Jamie drives over to join the beer tasting and offer Morocco travel advice. The day started with running, moved on to a lamb dinner, and finishes with fancy beer judging.