I had an early Christmas meal with my family, and my task was to prepare the meal. I dug out a hole in the backyard, lined it with rocks, made a big fire with wood, then put the coals in the hole followed by foil wrapped vegetables, cheese and fish. I covered it up with wooden boards and let it cook for six hours.
I was relieved when almost everything came out well—a long cooking oven which you can’t open is largely a matter of faith. this was my first time doing it and was expecting more challenges, if not a major disaster. It was a very long and manual process which I performed alone.
There was only one thing that I asked for, and that was “orange juice, natural, preferably freshly squeezed”. My sister arrived. Did you bring the juice?. I forgot. Please go get it, it’s absolutely necessary. And so she went away for a long time and we were sitting waiting for her, when she arrived she was holding four bottles of artificial orange lemonade. I put my hands to my head and blurted out “I asked for just one thing!” and she hurried away to get real orange juice.
Finally we were able to begin dinner. I served the orange juice in mimosas and we begun our meal under a negative note, arguing (briefly) about the importance of being reliable.
But later in the day I came to realize: the only reason why I dared to perform this big experiment on Christmas dinner was because my family is extremely adaptable and fault tolerant. Should the meal end up charred, we’d just remove the char and eat it. Should it be undercooked (which the fish was), they would be (and were) willing to wait an extra 45 minutes without batting an eye.
If messing up Christmas meal were such a big deal, I would have stuck to what is safe and what is known. From here comes my willingness to explore and to experiment! I came to understand: in the context of my family, the correct thing to do was to serve artificial orange lemonade mimosas.