We couldn’t let this month go by without doing some sort of “holiday themed” post. We were scratching our head trying to come up with this months “Top 5” contest thinking of such winners as, “Top 5 Most Friggin’ Annoying Christmas Tunes” and “Top 5 Christmas Sweaters Your Mom Owns” but settled on our original, and simple, idea of asking you to divulge your Top 5 favorite foods and/or drinks that you only really have around the holidays.
The first Christmas Jonny and I spent together was his first Christmas living in America. It was a bittersweet time for him because it was a reminder that he was really, really living in the US and not going home to the UK for awhile. It was also a serious reminder to him that he was stuck spending more time with my family than with his own. Not that there was anything wrong with him thinking this – my family is very loud, very loving and very crazy (in a good way?) and a quiet ‘ole Englishman would sometimes love to press the “mute” button on all of us every once in awhile if he could. That first Christmas, I thought I was pretty clear about our family’s traditions. We “do it up” for Christmas Eve dinner and our Christmas Day is basically spent leisurely opening up gifts and watching 5 reruns of “A Christmas Story” in a row only to be interrupted around 1PM by my mother screaming “brunch is on the table”. Brunch usually consists of some eggs, scrapple, pork roll, bagels and anything else that is found in the fridge. It’s nothing really that special, I guess.
This particular Christmas, I believe we all slept in. If memory serves correct, we all didn’t start opening up gifts till about 1PM and brunch was moved to about 3 or 3.30PM. After brunch we continued our normal Christmas Day which usually also involves a nap. Jonny and I awoke from our nap on the couch to find my sister also asleep and my mom and dad gone. They were invited to the neighbor’s house for dinner as were we. But Jonny was still in his “getting to know everyone” phase and, during this time, he was often treated as a specimen, being poked and prodded as though no one had ever encountered anyone from another country in their life. “So you really are English, Jonny, huh!? That’s soooo cool!”
|A Ginger-Bling Would be a Fine, Strong
Needless to say, Jonny didn’t want to go to the neighbors. He pouted as he looked around wondering what the frig was going on. “It’s Christmas! Where is everybody? When is everyone going to start cooking!?” I sat there unable to really understand why he was so upset, “Well, Jonny, we don’t really cook Christmas Day dinner. We have our big night on Christmas eve. I guess we could just go to the neighbors if you want to eat.” He couldn’t believe it… he began to get very irritated and sad… actually sad! As the night unfolded, we ended having our first disagreement based on our different Christmas traditions. I tried to do the best I could to make him feel better pouring him a huge glass of something strong and telling him we were going to make this work. WE were going to cook our own Christmas Day dinner. In my fantasy we’d start our own tradition. And then we looked in my parents fridge – nothing, not even leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner. We looked in the freezer – holy shit. Nothing but a ball of hamburger meat!!! And then I walked to the pantry with a desperate look on my face and there it was in all it’s glory – a can of Sloppy Joe mix. And that’s what I made my new love who moved across the ocean to be with me – canned slopply joe on toast. Why he’s still here I’ll never know. One thing I can tell you is that sloppy joe’s will NOT be on Jonny’s Top 5 Holiday Food list!
So, without further ado, I have based my Top 5 Favorite Holiday Food/Drink on the traditions I grew up with. You know, those things that only rear their head in December or only on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
- My mom’s kind of gross, but very delicious Crab Dip that is on the app table every Christmas Eve (recipe involves mayo, cream cheese, sherry and lump crab or KRAB if you must).
- Chestnuts (roasted on an open fire – kidding, we’ve never done that at home)
- Egg Nog (the processed kind that is local to the Philadelphia region – ie: Wawa brand)
- This delicious appetizer that our good family friend always bring over that involves a dried apricot topped with nuts and some cream cheese. Not sure what the hell it’s called but it’s DAMN good.
- Communion. Let’s be honest, the lord’s communion tastes better after 2 cosmo’s, 6 glasses of wine and 2 Sambuca’s before midnight mass.
Hey, Jonny, why don’t you chime in with your Top 5?
- mulled wine (gluhwein/vin chaud). Nothing says Christmas to me like the taste and smell of the aromatic spices in mulled wine, not to mention that warm alcohol goes straight to your head.
- brandy or rum butter/hard sauce: I actually hate this stuff with a passion, but again it’s redolent of the Christmases of my youth when my grandma (gawd bless her) would have a tiny piece of Christmas pudding topped with about a pint of hard sauce, and then pass out about half an hour later. Not sure whether it was the booze or the cholesterol.
- mince pies: another English tradition, but this one I really like. there’s no mince (it’s dried fruit & nuts, sugar and spices) in a sweet pastry sprinkled with sugar. perfect combination is a glass of mulled wine in one hand and a mince pie in the other, possibly mumbling some Christmas carols and trying not to spit raisins and hazelnut bits everywhere.
- cheddar cheese and pineapple cubes on cocktail sticks: the essential 1980s hors d’oeuvre that always seems to get resurrected at Christmas.
- Christmas cake: again, I’m not that keen on this traditional cake of dried fruit, nuts, sugar and spice wrapped in marzipan (frangipane) and thick white icing which is left to improve for at least a month before Yule, especially since I have awful memories of taking my sister’s Barbie plate and destroying my mother’s perfectly smooth icing one year and making her cry.
Nominate and Win!
Tell us what your top five Holiday comestibles are and win yourself some hand-made sachets of mulling spices and enjoy the holidays with some spiced-up booze!