In preparation for Christmas 2011, Gourmet Live dispatched a writer for a very special assignment. After an arduous trek that began in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, continued to northern Greenland where he headed off into the ether, and involved a sea plane, a Russian ice-breaker, and two separate dogsled teams, our intrepid reporter landed the mother of all Christmas-story scoops: an interview with the reclusive Mrs. Santa Claus herself.
This transcript is taken directly from his voice recorder, which he got as a present last Christmas.
Gourmet Live: Mrs. Kringle?
Mrs. Kringle: Please, Mrs. Kringle was my mother-in-law. You can call me Mrs. Claus.
GL: Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Claus.
Mrs. Claus: Well, come in, dearie. Would you like some milk and cookies?
GL: That last sled ride was several days long, so milk and cookies would be very—
MC: Well, I don’t have any. Who do you think I am, your grandmother?
GL: Ah, no, my grandmother never… wore leopard-print tracksuits. Why are you wearing—
MC: Did you bring any booze?
GL: Um, no.
MC: Do you know how hard it is to get a decent Scotch up here? Those little buggers—
GL: The elves?
MC: Yes, if you want to be all P.C. about it. Those runts run a still back behind the Elmo building they think I don’t know about. They’re always underfoot, but they can turn gingerbread into firewater in 30 days. But do they ever give me a snootful? No. Because he says so.
GL: “He” being Santa Claus?
MC: Yes. He’s convinced liquor makes me ornery. I say a lack of liquor makes me even more ornery. But the elves never cross Kris when it comes to liquor or candy. They claim it’s a union thing.
GL: Speaking of food, what’s Santa’s favorite dish?
MC: [Rolls eyes.] Like I’ve never heard that question before. What are you, in first grade? I’ll tell you what I tell the little kids: That fat geezer will eat anything with sugar in it. I love him, but he’s a fat, hungry geezer. Just look at him. Whenever I ask him what he wants for dinner, he says something like, “Ginger Bundt cake, butter cookies, Bûche de Noël, and hot cocoa.” And that’s just for the first course. Then I’ll ring the bell for one of the chefs—
GL: Wait, you don’t do the cooking here?
MC: Oh, good Lord, no. Do we look like serfs? We have an entire population of elves here who are basically genetically engineered to be helpful. You have no idea how annoying that is, by the way.
GL: Back to the Bundt cake and cocoa…
MC: Well, after more than 100 years of empty carbs and butterfats for every meal every day, I finally had it, and told Kris we had to have a salad for once. You know what the chef brought back? A bowl full of lichens. There aren’t many options up here.
GL: How do you live for centuries on that kind of diet?
MC: I’ll admit, the occasional holiday gift package from Usinger’s or Murray’s gets “lost” on the way to Nova Scotia. Summer sausage and cheese logs taste pretty damn good after nine straight months of plum pudding.
GL: Bundt cake, butter cookies, cocoa, plum pudding… I’m surprised you didn’t mention fruitcake.
MC: The worst is when he gets on a fruitcake kick. They come every 12 years or so. He’ll eat fruitcakes for all six meals each day for a whole year and listens to “Here Comes Santa Claus” as he inhales the stuff. And, yes, I said he eats six meals a day. The only reason the fruitcake industry still exists is because of Kris’ cravings. I tried to get him into a 12-step program once, but they don’t have those for fruitcakes, apparently. Or at least that’s what the elves tell me.
GL: So what do you guys have for dessert?
MC: Ice cream, of course.
GL: Maybe you could eat fruit for dessert instead.
MC: No, we’re sticking with ice cream.