December 25th, 2013

A Special Christmas Dinner Party

Sitting at the table playing Uno was the highlight of my Christmas Eve Dinner party. My three invited guests were surprised to find the internet switched off, but quickly adapted as the cards were dealt.

No one felt overly competitive, just hungry, so after a few rounds of cards I handed out the menu. We started with three appetizers, served all at once. I knew my guests were partial to prosciutto and melon, so that was on the menu.

I’m especially proud of how my tangerine and avocado salad with mozzarella balls came out. I added orange juice and olive oil, and everyone had some.

Stuffed peppers and olives (cream cheese) rounded out the appetizer course.

Very impressive appetites … we went on to the main course of roasted chicken alongside meatloaf. These ended up on my guests’ plates before I could get a photo, but you know what meat loaf looks like anyway. My mashed potatoes are always a hit.

Retreating from the table, we listened to songs from my playlist while opening presents, then played a few more rounds of Uno. The music included:

  • Flower, by Moby
  • Blue Jeans, by Lana Del Rey
  • I’ll Take You There, by the Staple Singers
  • I Just Wanna Make Love to You, by Etta James, then the Foghat cover
  • Let’s Stay Together, by Al Green

My Christmas was marvellous. My guests did not want to be photographed, but the evening is etched on my memory.


Frederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and followed with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred's entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December 2013, and was followed by its sequel, Inferno, in June 2014.

A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago.

When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.

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