Christmas. X-mas. The Yuletide Season. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Whatever the holiday, I mean this time of year. The stretch between Halloween and NYE (I won’t even deign to include Valentine’s Day).
I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays.
Every year it’s the same cycle for me. Less sunlight, busy time of year at work, lots of fattening goodies to make and partake… and I get really really bummed. There are a few reason for my lull in mood, none of which will be explored here.
Like many of us, I use food to drown /ignore/ cover up my emotions. I am not ashamed. Like a good whisky, a good , solid, slightly crisp (not too crisp, because don’t kid yourself, that’s just stale) butter cookie with lots of yummy royal icing and edible glitter can really fill the void-dujour.
The last few weeks have been a virtual food bonanza. Coincidence? I think not.
I had some awesome chicken pot pie at Beasleys.
I had the best two appetizers ever created (trout tartare and grits souffle) at Magnolia Grill.
I had my fiance’s barbecue (lest you forget, I proposed to Jack Stack, and Jack Stack accepted).
I held the only Christmas party I intend to hold, and attempted Beef Bourguignon.
The Bourguignon was a mad hit, and while not difficult, was very time consuming.
(If you’re so inclined, I made an amalgamation of Julia Child’s and Ina Garten’s).
All of those meals have one thing in common: they were shared with people I care about.
So. While I always say I hate Christmas (I do, really), the part of it that I like is the opportunity to feed people – they don’t object because no one has to squeeze into a bikini. No one is worrying about their beach trip (well, no one I know, anyway). The weather turns chillier … extra layers are needed to keep warm. What better source of heat than a nice, full tummy and a nice glass of red? No one seems to care that they’re eating a lot, and I’m happy to feed them. It makes me feel good. (I always said, if I ever had children, they’d be fat.)
Next week I plan to make my once-celebrated christmas cookies with my not-so-secret ingredient… (not to worry, I’ll share the recipe). What will I do with them all? Well, I’ll save a few for myself, a few for my incoming family, and the rest? Well, I’ll give them away of course.
…Some to the nice old couple next door. None for the asshole neighbor who hates my yard and lets his dog crap on my grass (I saw you, creepy weird guy). Some for my nice coworkers who like to tie one on with me. None for the Internet-Asshole-I-Really-Want-to-Name who decided it would be HILARIOUS for his creepy friend to send me harrassing text messages and tell me he knew where I lived (Thank you Raleigh PD). None for even the nice guys who’ve shared my company lately (that would be leading them on, you see).
But, those I really care about? Yes. They will receive cookies. The very same cookies that made past recipients groan with pleasure and gasp over their beauty (a bit much, if you ask me, they’re home made, rolled butter cookies with royal icing, but hey, whatever floats their boat…)…
Giving food, feeding people is a double blessing. It makes my people happy, and well, it makes me happy. Does that detract from the goodness of the giving? Does it make me selfish?
A bit. It does feed my ego to feed people’s tummies. Whatever. I’m honest. I want to feed people. I want to know what I offered was good. I like to see that my first-time-ever Pears Sabayon elicits an eyeroll toward Heaven and gutteral moan.
I may not be cooking for anyone for a little while (I kind of need a break, you know?), I’ll have to feed my own soul, my own ego, and find joy elsewhere.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I now have to go put my favorite Christmas movie in the DVD player, pour a glass of something sparkly, and dream up my Christmas Eve manu. Er, menu.
(P.S. Check out this adorable blog: I think it’s no longer updated, but adorable: http://junecleavercookingclub.blogspot.com/)