Today’s favorite Christmas thing is food. My friend Anne suggested that as a topic, and this is the perfect day to write about food. I arrived at my parents’ house this afternoon to find the dining room already full of cookies and candies and cake. (The ones I’ve tested so far are all quite good, in case you were wondering.)
My family likes to eat, and every year my mom cooks up a storm, as we say down south. We aren’t particularly adventurous with our Christmas food, although in the past we’ve made some half-hearted attempts to try something new. Actually,the problem isn’t that we don’t want to try anything new, it’s that we don’t want to give up anything already on the menu.
That’s not entirely accurate. All of us have something we’d be willing to give up, but that something is usually someone else’s favorite. For example, I’d be happy never to even see the sweet potato casserole again, but there are some
weirdos people in my family who like it.
Of course, there are some things we all love. Luckily, for the most part my siblings and I are now mature enough not to fight over who gets the last dinner roll or first dibs on the lemon pie. We still, however, do the math with the deviled eggs to make sure everyone gets an equal amount. It’s always a sad moment for kids in the family when they suddenly realize that their doting parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters or cousins, who would normally sacrifice themselves for the children, aren’t willing to share even a tiny bite of a deviled egg.
Since we are from the south, our menu has a distinctly southern flavor. We have cornbread dressing, which is served separately and never stuffed inside the turkey, an act that always sounds a bit obscene to me. Ham is on the menu with the turkey. We drink sweet tea. The green bean casserole, the red congealed salad, and the potato salad have been in the family as long as I have. The pink congealed salad is one of our newer additions, circa 1988.
One of the best things about all the food, besides the fact that everything tastes so good, is that most of these recipes have been around for a long time, and most of them came from family or friends. As we cook and eat, we remember the people who gave us the recipes. One of my cousins gave us the recipe for the
nasty sweet potato casserole, an aunt the recipe for the pound cake, an old teaching friend of mine the recipe for yummy bars. The memories mix in and add to the pleasure of eating.
Some of the memories are funnier than others. Pretty much every time someone takes the turkey out of the oven these days, someone else will bring up the time my brother and I pulled out the big bird and promptly spilled turkey grease all over the kitchen floor right before dinner. Trust me, it wasn’t funny then but creates big chuckles now. Good times.
Time for me to go taste-test some more cookies.
What special foods do you have during the holiday?