So…the frenzy of Christmas (in the US) is done. Whew! Ours was very quiet, which was great. I have spent way too many years stressing myself into a spasm over the Perfection of the Presentation. One holiday I took a look at it and realized that it was a weird form of aggression, so I cut it out. Such relief. The food is good and my house is clean but if the dishes aren’t perfectly matched and I don’t always have the good silver out, guess what? My guests still seem to have a good time. Better yet? So do I.
Which brings me to the point of this post – sorta. Okay, not yet but roll with me here – I’m still in a food-coma.
We haven’t focused on big-time gifts in a long time. We have nearly everything we need and a whole lot of what we want, so getting tons of stuff is just …more stuff. I mentioned on Ann’s post yesterday that I got one of those Posh Pocket crossword books and was over the moon! I am an inveterate crossworder and those books are perfect for throwing in your handbag. I was a happy girl!
What I have focused on in the past decade? The food! And guess what? Everybody else does, too! We ate like porkrinds yesterday – breakfast was a huge affair, with Pork Products Unlimited (pigs fear me), latkes, cheese souffle, home made yeasted waffles (just take a minute and consider the calorie count of what I just listed there) pots and pots of good, dark coffee and fresh-squeezed OJ ….oh, it was wonderful.
After breakfast, El O broke out the ham, which had been brining in ginger ale and garlic overnight – we got that in the oven for a sloooooow bake for dinner. Scalloped potatoes, spinach souffle, homemade Parker House rolls, green beans from this summer’s garden, my mother’s corn pudding…..ah, joy. Miette double chocolate cake. Sublime. We count no carbs on Christmas, we just walk a lot, hoping to stave off the poundage with brisk movement. And every. single. person. we ran into in our small burg talked about….Food! What they made, what they ate, what they wished so-and-so would quit making because it sucks sooo bad…..all aspects of chowing down were discussed, from one end of town to the other. Several of my neighbors were unrepentant is revealing the multiple dinners they would happily ingest that day, often from the same table! Leftovers Rule!! Everyone’s eyes shone, as they described some heirloom dish, passed down through the generations, that their own grandchildren are now enjoying each holiday. The continuity of family and community seems to be so much through food. Go on Facebook today, see what the bulk of your friends are posting. I’ll bet it’s mostly food. Chatted with friends this morning (Boxing Day) – we did not talk about gifts. We talked about what we ate yesterday. The Italian pork roast (oh, good grief! my heart nearly stopped with desire)… chicken meatballs with spinach (and a spirited discussion over the merits of fennel seed therein (I’m a fennel gal, meself) sweet potato v. pumpkin pie, chocolate, peppermint, red velvet……El O’s cub was here yesterday, having spent Christmas Eve at his mother’s. No talk of ‘what he got’ . Instead, pictures of the groaning board, with a beautiful crown roast and this really strange dish with grapes and whipped topping that was kinda freaky-looking – but they love it! It’s a family tradition. He brought his best friend to both houses and it reminded me: food tastes much better shared.
And we are family here…so I wanna know ALLLL about it! What did you guys EAT? What are your fun/goofy/great food traditions? (mine is: if you take the last of the corn pudding that’s in the fridge I will Bite you so hard you will cry!). Are you known for a special dish? Or are you the one who Brings the Milk? My cousin is required to bring her mamma’s tamales, no matter what the occasion. Another friend, whose cooking runs counter to the rural community she just moved to, has been asked to bring the milk to community gatherings – I guess that tofu lasagne didn’t go over too well…
Can’t wait to hear about it. You can also tell me what perfume you wore: mine was Diaghilev, which was a perfect scent for yesterday’s cooking and eating and walking extravaganza. Tomorrow it’s back to work. And oatmeal. sigh. I’m wearing Mitsouko to prepare for it.