You know whose idea it was to ring in the New Year with a score of shrilling friends and a barrel of pasteurized eggnog? Guy Lombardo, that's who. And Alka-Seltzer.
Look, if you didn't want to see you old acquaintances all year long, why spoil New Year's Eve? Celebrate the year's end gently, just the two of you, and let the madcaps fend for themselves. Traditions are made, not borne.
This is the beginning of a whole new era. Banish recession depression and bring back profligacy for one last fling. Your lover will probably have forgotten what it's like. Besides, once the Republicans take over, luxury may be against the law.
First off, any champgne you can buy out of the pre-chilled section is out. Invest in the real thing -- also in tulip goblets, as champagne lasts longer that way.
Get an old mantel clock, the kind with tocks and no ticks and spidery hands, that won't run for more than a day at a time and so comes cheap. Or borrow one. There's nothing heart-warming about the glow of an LED wristwatch.
Set out a lot of roses. You want soft music, but not classical -- good jazz has that warm sensation. Waltz, schmaltz: Clear a little space to begin the year a beguine .
Now, about dinner: Forget the black-eyed peas. The smell will clog the air all night.
Eggs benedict is another dreadful New Year's convention. Adjourn it. If you're eating after the switching hour, think light: cold lobster, or shrimp salad and little red potatoes vinaigrette, or partly-hollowed out baked potatoes filled with caviar under a sour cream blanket. Make dessert light, too: meringues with raspberries and dribbled bittersweet chocolate or fruit tarts or just fine candy.
If, on the other hand, you opt for the elegant, pre-midnight tete-a-tete, try a pungent breast of goose with kiwi sauce. (This was originally a wild goose improvisation, but you can give the barnyard bird a little muscle this way.) It's deceptively snazzy and not too filling.
For after-dinner entertainment, buy some plain lead. Melt a chunk in a big spoon (not one of your favorites, as it will be no good for anything else thereafter), then tip the lead all at once into cold water. The shape is supposed to tell you something about the coming year.
There should be one last split of champagne for the dawn's early light, if you hold out that long. If you hold out too long, share a fluffy omelet (beat the whites and yolks separately, fold together and mound briefly on the griddle: sprinkle with powdered sugar) and put lime in the Alka-Seltzer. Then tear the petals off the roses and drop them in a hot bath. It may not cure a hangover, but it will make 1981 easier to face. EVE'S OIE VEY (Serves up to 6)
Ask your poultry merchant to bone a breast of goose (you'll probably have to buy the whole bird; try broiling the legs with rosemary). Cut the red breast meat whole away from its blanket of fat and set aside or discard the fat.
In a mixing bowl, combine about a half-bottle of red wine, a heaping 1 1/2 teaspoons of allspice and two sticks of cinnamon. Place the two pieces of breast in the bowl; add wine if necessary to cover. Marinate two to three hours.
Peel and puree six kiwi fruit. Set aside.
When you're ready to serve, place the goose in a broiling pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir up the marinade, discarding the cinnamon sticks, and return one cup to a large skillet. Bring to boil and let reduce while goose is cooking.
Broil the goose six inches from the flame, no more than three or four minutes a side. Meat should be rare. Slice on the diagonal as you would a flank steak. Arrange on a platter. Stir the kiwi puree into the reduced marinade, let it heat through and pour over goose slices.