Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! May Christmas be filled with good company and most importantly GOOD FOOD! While I don’t have a Christmas recipe for you today, I do have some of my favorite Christmas quotes from traditions I cannot live without.
I always knew getting married would mean compromises, especially when it came to family.Ever since I was a little kid, missing Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter was a big no-no. Birthdays could be shifted around a bit, and long periods of non visiting were acceptable (particularly when I lived in Philly) but nothing was more important than celebrating with family on these three days. When I got married to, not my high school sweetheart, but still a friend from my hometown, I thought how great life was. Both sets of parents lived within 10 minutes of each other. There was no need to travel halfway across the country, decide whose parents were “more important” to visit for each holiday, then switch it up the next year. It was all well and good in theory, but not so much in practice. Instead of splitting and alternating like many couples, we double celebrate each holiday. That means two Christmases, two Easters and yes, two very filling Thanksgivings. Two food centric events on the same day.
St. Patrick’s Day causes a frenzy of leprechauns, shamrocks, green beer and everything Irish people can get their hands on. I’ve lived in the same building for almost 7 years and while I don’t know everyone, I don’t think we have any Irish, yet I can the scent of corned beef and cabbage is already permeating the halls, and wafting its way into my apartment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no exception. I already have some brisket brining and the strong scent of cabbage will take over in a few hours.
Any holiday or reason to cook, I’m all over it. And St. Patrick’s Day is no different…with maybe one exception, the Soda Bread. People get so excited about Soda Bread, with its crunchy caraway seeds and plump raisins, it’s almost like a dessert. The first time I visited Ireland, I was astonished to see our version of soda bread is really nothing like theirs. It’s still yeast free, using baking soda instead as a levener, but it wasn’t sweet at all. No raisins, no caraway seeds, just a simple bread, toasted with plenty of butter. I’m not going to pretend I know why the recipe changed to more of a dessert like bread moving across the Atlantic pond, but it did. Soda bread in both forms is good, but it’s not the bread I fell in love with. There was something about a hearty, ridiculously dense slice of brown bread that just made me swoon.
One of the first things I think of with Christmas (besides cookies and booze) is fruitcake. I never really understood the symbolism of it and am proud to say I’ve never tried the stuff. But I do remember hearing threats of people re-gifting fruitcakes over and over and rumors that the stuff could last for decades, if wrapped properly. It does seem festive, with it’s red and green “fruits” and I couldn’t imagine writing a 12 Days of Christmas series without it. I planned on
spending hours researching scouring the internet checking Wikipedia to learn about its origins, until I came across this article on the Huffington Post. While I could research and write for days, I don’t think I could ever come close to their thoughts as to why fruit cake is the most hated feared Christmas dessert cake food. Just go ahead and read it.
Regardless of whether it’s an elaborate three course brunch or a quick breakfast after tearing open what Santa brought, almost everyone enjoys having Christmas morning breakfast as a family. When I was really young, my brother and I used to get up at the crack of dawn, pull everything out of our stockings, then place it exactly back how it was so no one would ever know. Then we tackled the wrapped presents, inspecting and shaking to try and figure out what was inside. When my parents FINALLY woke up (it felt like hours later…) presents always came before breakfast. After we exhausted the present opening and got bored with out new toys, my mom would usually make us all Eggs Benedict or Pancakes.