I don't care much for office Christmas parties. Half the time they're too tame and boring as you play an all too obvious game of Secret Santa where you likely get paired with the one person who wraps up a corn dog from the AM-PM in an old expense report. The other half of the time they're bacchanalian sinfests that would put Caligula to shame, which is saying a lot for a man who had sex with his consul, Incitatus (who, by the way, was also his horse).
I'm not grinchy. Far from it. I'm the person who loves to celebrate Christmas, but I just have a thing against drinking heavily with co-workers or even hanging out with them outside of work. I feel that my day job professional sphere and my personal sphere are two very different spaces that should remain separate by both miles and personal connections. As Doctor Egon Spengler once said, "Don't cross the streams." I simply feel that though my life is very public what with book, blog, and social media the more intimate details of my life best left unknown to the people I have to borrow files from.
I joined my current job in early January shortly after the last Christmas party had ended. Tales of the epic blowout still floated about like cryptic stories from an ancient mariner, told with both wide eyed reverie and quiet murmurs. A near storage closet consisted of two half-finished container of rum, a pint of grenadine, a nearly empty handle of Everclear, two bottles of Triple Sec, and a case of martini olives with most of the jars gone - evidence that the stories weren't embellished.
Anywhose, as December rolled around this year talk of the Christmas party began. I told one person I had a plan to have a drink or two and then quit for the night.
"Good luck with that," he said.
Then came the weekly staff meeting a few days before the party itself wherein one of the management went over the details. It would be Sunday. (I work in a nonprofit theatre that focuses on arts and literacy programs, Monday was the day off for most of the stagehands, actors, interns, etcetera. Hence Sunday.) It would be at six o'clock. Significant others welcome. Pot luck, so bring a dish. Secret Santa will be held and please no dildos, pornography, ball gags, pregnancy testing kits, dildos, bondage gear, moonshine, pipes, and for the love of god no dildos because there are kids at this party and last year there were just too many dildos and too many kids.
No dildos and a dish. Got it.
For this Secret Santa I picked up an old camel hair coat I found at a Goodwill for $15 dollars. Not bad.
Ah, but the food. I wanted something fast and adorable, but that had plenty of flavorful punch to it. Something that would also be memorable in the vodka-haze.
To be honest, i was at a loss. Having worked in pastry I have plenty of standby recipes I can rely on when creativity isn't swelling but nothing in my repertoire was really standing out.
Then, remembering a recipe for chocolate graham crackers that caught my eye, I reached for Catherine McCord's cookbook, Weelicious Lunches.
If the last name strikes a bell it is because we are fourth cousins. In a Downton Abbey-like twist of fate we had met a few years ago and out of curiosity began piecing together our family roots, all of which seemed to lie not to far from the same tree. A bit of research, filial interviews, and phone calls and we discovered we shared a great (and rather fertile) grandfather who had sired ten kids.
Crazy that we found each other because of food blogging. What a world, no?
I highly recommend Weelicious Lunches. I don't have kids and I cook from the book because it just has a wealth of ideas and information (plus, the recipes kick some ass). If you need a last minute cookbook gift then get thee to the bookstore today.
These cocoa corgis were a hit. In retrospect I would have smeared them with nutella and made sandwich cookies from them, but regardless everyone at the party devoured them but only after a quick squeal at their shape.
In the end the party went well. It was calm. No dildos, though a lava lamp made an appearance as did a few forties of cheap beer but what can you do? I had a whiskey or two that were dyed red to give the appearance they were Manhattans but, no, they were whiskey. I figure at a party one that if one does drink then one should have a drink or two, if at least not to seem like a stodgy prick. I only stayed for the Secret Santa game as the husband, who was in tow, can only tolerate so much forced socialization before anxiety causes him to hide in the car.
Introverts. What can you do?
From what I hear the interns and a few of the actors put away six bottles of Maker's Mark and a handle of bottom shelf vodka.
I was in the next day at six nibbling at leftover corgis with a cup of black tea. Ah well.
Happy holidays, everyone.
Cocoa Graham Corgis
Makes about 3-4 dozen
Note: I have a cookie cutter in a corgi shape. It was a gift so I can't say where to find it. Any shape, of course, will do.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350F. Place all the dry ingredients into a food processor and blitz the hell out of it until your frustration at the holidays is out or its all nicely combined. Add the butter a pulse until it looks like a coarse meal. Add the honey as well as 1/4 cup of water and mix in the processor until a clumpy dough forms.
Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper until it's about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes (use whatever you got or just cut into squares) and place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and cool on a wire rack. Eat and enjoy. Share if you must.