Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Menu

So I missed Thanksgiving. I'm a bit conflicted on that holiday, anyway. I mean, yes, white folk conquered the natives and that's an historical fact - one that, contrary to what certain people would have you believe, white men did not invent... at least not any time recently; OTOH, it was completely unnecessary and continued well into the 20th-Century, long after the genocide was complete. Generally speaking, I celebrate it because it is what it is: a holiday (which we so desperately need), but it's more about eating these days than anything, so I don't mind if miss it.

Chrimmas, on quite the other, other hand, is a fun holiday. Separate it from the cult of child molestation and there's a fat, jolly, and generous man with some flying deer and shit. Toys, pretty lights, drunk folk, elves... it's a lot like some porn shoots, come to think of it. But, just like Thanksgiving, Christmas is a lot about eating (a lot), too! To a large extent, the menus from the two, disparate, holidays have become blurred - the most common difference being turkey for Thanksgiving, ham for Christmas - but some Christmas menus are downright "bizarre" by modern sensibilities.

I have to admit, I've always wanted to do an Italian Christmas menu. Aside from the fact that I know little about traditional Italian Christmas celebrations, much less Italian cooking, the other problem is finding the ingredients. Still, part of the allure is in learning these things, so I'm thinking that next year, I'll do a spaghetti and sausage dish, with plenty of cheeses and chickens and peppers and things. And wine. Lots of wine. Still, this year, I went with the regular, old, traditional, American Christmas dinner.

I should note that my preferred Christmas would include lots of alcohol; an all-night Chrimmas Eve of boozing, decorating, and cooking; and a Champagne brunch (well, a "sparkling wine" brunch, at least). However, I've only been able to have such a festive occasion since I was 21 and work and life below the poverty line have precluded that. It almost happened this year, but schedules and finances once again conspired against it (though not my schedule, for once), so I'm having a very traditional Christmas with the 'rents. And this is what we're having:
  • Turkey (or Chicken) and Dressing with Giblet Gravy and Cranberry Sauce
    Mom is making the meat. I make dressing using Southern cornbread as the base (made with spoiled milk). Mom also makes the giblet gravy and I cut half the can of cranberry sauce and heat the other half.
  • Sweet Corn, Mashed Potatoes, Black-Eyed Peas, Mac n Cheese, Dinner Rolls
    The corn comes straight from the can, but I add generous dollops of real butter. Yes, "dollops." You know how to make creamed potatoes. The black-eyed peas are dried (from a bag) and I don't soak them; I rinse them and put them in the Crock-Pot with about five pork neckbones and black pepper. Mac n Cheese is generic from a box, with Romano and Philly cream cheese added to it. Sometimes, I grate sharp cheddar cheese over the top and bake it, but not this year.
  • Green Bean Casserole, Deviled Eggs
    Mom makes these. I don't even know the recipes (though I have several).
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies, Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
    Cookies are from a bag - just add oil and water. Spice cake from a box. Cream Cheese Frosting = 1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz.), 1 stick of butter, and 2 C. confectioner's sugar. I have to warn you that while I have made this frosting before, this is my own recipe I have not tried (but am using), because I was not pleased with how the frosting turned-out previously; use at your own risk!
  • Peanut Butter Cup Pie
    Mix 1 C. milk, 1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding, 1/2 jar of peanut butter, and 1/2 tub of whipped topping at medium speed until smooth. Pour into 9" graham cracker pie crust (chocolate graham cracker pie crust is even better, and Oreo crust is nice, too). Chill for about 2 hours, then top with the rest of the Cool Whip. Garnish with syrup, if you like.
  • Sweet Potato Pie
    There are thousands of variations, but this is a good recipe. I add a pinch of allspice and use 1/2 C. white sugar and 1/2 C. brown.
That's pretty much it, but that's enough! It's a whole, whole lot, but we'll be eating leftovers for weeks afterward. Christmas is a fun holiday, though its true meaning often gets lost in a barrage of Christian nonsense and PC politics. I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season and would love to hear your menus and recipes!
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© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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