Just because I wasn't spending the holidays in Miami, I didn't intend to skimp on our traditional Cuban meal. I tracked down sour oranges on the Lower East Side to make the mojo marinade for the roast pork, lugged home pounds of yuca, and spent hours slowly simmering black beans. With a backlog of must-try Christmas cookies, I went overboard with dessert and endlessly fussed over a buche de Noel—a rookie mistake. I even decided to make coquito--a Puerto Rican-style eggnog made with freshly grated coconut blended with rum, sweetened with condensed milk, and spiced with cinnamon and anise. Having taken on too much, I was fighting a mild case of hostess hysteria when guests arrived. It may have been everyone pitching in, or my second glass of coquito, but things went smoothly enough that I felt I might get away with it after all.