Two Words: Merry Christmas

best picture of me and michael, younger

One of the most memorable calls of my life was one that I picked up from my answering machine twenty-one years ago, Christmas Day.

It was my first Christmas alone after my husband had left me for another woman (READ THAT STORY HERE).  I was still reeling from that hit — and not because we had some loving marriage, but because of the betrayal.

I had gone on two very casual dates with a new man.  Didn’t know if there would be a third.  First date was for lunch at the Broadway Deli in Santa Monica, the second was dinner at Remi, a great Italian restaurant.  Both were on the Third Street Promenade, and are now gone.  It was followed by a game of pool in a sports bar across the way.  Throughout both dates, I kept the conversation going, filling in the empty spaces with my unique backstory – growing up in the slums of Beverly Hills, my one-of-a-kind, loudmouth producer dad, my quirky, Texas-born, goyishe mom.  Yakety yakety yak.  Was he even listening?   Who knows?  The first date was October 24th and the next was a few weeks later, in November.  And that could have been that; it wasn’t exactly a relationship moving quickly or even a relationship at all.  But, for some reason, I really liked those two dates, as they may have been the first dates in my whole life.  When I was younger, you met someone — there were no dates – and just sort of moving in right away was the norm.

me with my husband, Michael

me with my husband, Michael

And then it was December and this guy told me that he and his soon-to-be-ex-wife and kids would be go skiing together.  For the kids’ sake, they thought it would be nice to have a family vacation, even though they were going through a divorce.  I harbored no feelings about it whatsoever.  I might have even thought it sounded nice, since it’s the way my family rolled in their divorce.  We always travelled together, year in, year out — but there weren’t any significant partners in my parents’ lives to get in the way of it.

So, Christmas Day came, my first alone in many, many years.  My kids were with their dad, and I walked into my apartment alone.  I pushed the blinking button on the machine.  (Remember those?)  A man’s very kind and thoughtful voice said, “I just called to wish the half of you that’s gentile a Merry Christmas.”

You get it.  He had me at Merry Christmas.

me with Santa, the half that isn't Jewish!!!!

me with Santa, the half that isn’t Jewish!!!!

There is an AMAZING appetizer you all might remember from the Italian restaurant Remi.  Since the one on the Third Street Promenade closed, you can make it yourself or if you live in New York, try the Remi there or if you live in Los Angeles they serve this dish at Josie Next Door on Pico in Santa Monica.  However, you will have to pay for it at Josie’s, not like at Remi where they brought it to your table along with bread (freebie) and then I kept making them bring two or three more orders of it.

Remi’s Goat Cheese Appetizer Recipe

1 pound Montrachet goat cheese, room temperature

1 pound cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup Mascarpone, optional

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

1 to 1 1/2 cups any basic tomato sauce (use a store bought jar if you want)

pinch salt

Minced parsley

Beat together goat cheese, cream cheese, Mascarpone, garlic and basil in bowl of electric mixer.  Drizzle in olive oil, blend until smooth. Put mixture in bowl, first put the tomato sauce on the bottom of the bowl,  place on baking sheet, broil a few minutes until browned on top.  Garnish by drizzling olive oil and adding parsley.  Serve with fresh bread that you love, like maybe focaccia.




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14 Responses to “Two Words: Merry Christmas”

  1. robin says:

    but what do you do with the tomato sauce?
    sounds a little like the amuse at palmeri.
    let’s go here soon.
    love the story. love michael. love you….xxx

  2. Kim says:

    I love that one Fredde!

  3. Augie Duke says:

    I cried reading this, I am so lucky to Have Michael as my step dad. He is the most kind, caring and funny man i know .. Love you Step Dad, oh and you know i love you mom always and forever Merry Christmas to both of you amazing humans….

  4. Julie Phalen says:

    Merry Christmas Fredde!

  5. Laura Plotkin says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Fredde. We MUST make a plan in 2013!

  6. Doreen Ringer Ross says:

    Great piece as always!! Merry Christmas to the half you got from your mom!! You’re so right that we didn’t “date”…..we just sort of took hostages. LOL Love you!!

  7. Freddde! I love this. kind of swoon inducing. and love how it hips me to another story. Yay!

  8. alexandra johnson says:

    Freddie ~
    Lovely! Now i know what happened to you! how wonderous and fully rich like a chocolate. 20 Years have passed and I did not know how it all shook out for you. How divine. Its a cold night and i’m curling up to your blog….xxooalexandra
    and how fantastic to see you today

  9. Debbie Schellenberg says:

    I think it’s time you put together a book, and Merry Christmas Freddie! Lunch after next week with Janet? Seriously, you writing is so full of love, humor and great stories. Just do it!

  10. Pauli says:

    Why am I tearing up? Love the Merry Christmas! ❤️❤️

  11. jhr says:

    Love this as I love all your stories. What a gift you are, Fredde. Now please explain how you broil something in a bowl…

  12. Linda says:

    Another touching story …

  13. Linda says:

    Merry Christmas to your gentile half … from me who grew up Presbyterian, not knowing her heritage … XO

  14. Linda says:

    And the rest is history … <3

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