I’ve enjoyed seeing everyone’s postings on facebook the last few days with photos of families beside gaily decorated trees and enjoying holiday meals. It’s such a happy time of year. Full of traditions and memory-making moments.
Our season starts with the Boat Parade Party the first weekend in December and the festivities don’t end until my birthday early January. A month long of family celebrations … 6 weeks if you count Thanksgiving! And I do.
When my sister and I took over hosting holiday dinners from the generation before us, we divvied up Christmas by her doing the Eve and me doing the Day. It was always an all-fish dinner on Christmas Eve and a roast of some sort with lots of trimmings on the Day. That’s where tradition began and where it ended.
Unlike other families who look forward to a special (and the same) holiday meal, we always had a different menu … but within those parameters. Every year, shaking it up a bit.
As many readers know, we are fortunate to have our entire immediate family (4 generations) nearby and to continue the tradition of the holidays together. Our regular base around-the-table for family dinners is 17 but, for holidays, it could be 20-25 people depending on whose in-laws are around or visiting relatives.
In between, various smaller segments of the family get together for breakfast and intimate gift-giving … though we have a gift-giving tradition for Christmas Eve and Day too. On the Eve, the children open gifts from half the adults and on Christmas Day they get gifts from the rest while the adults enjoy opening gifts from their Secret Santa (picked at Thanksgiving).
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I stopped doing the big Christmas tree when my son moved out — and the work was left to me Every year since, I put up less and less decorations. Over the years, it’s been live, artificial, big, small, smaller and this year … teeny weeny. But it was perfect for our intimate pre-Christmas dinner.
**Butternut Squash + Corn Pie
roasted (and gently mashed) butternut squash and corn kernels, folded with mixed cheddar cheeses, chopped herbs, dry seasonings, a little crumbled bacon and baked pastry. Finished with a little paprika sea salt flakes before going in oven.
A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!
I've always been a culinary improvisor which means I get my kicks out of recipe development. In the FOODalogue kitchen each meal is an adventure and the journey is as exciting as the destination. My favorite kitchen tools are imagination and intuition. I rarely look at a recipe, not even my own!
On these pages, I suggest food pairings and techniques to be experimented with...in your own kitchen...to your own spice levels...and to your preferred portion sizes.