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We get pretty cutthroat, just saying.

My favourite part about the Holidays isn’t the presents, or even the family time, to be honest with you. It’s definitely the food. Now before you call me crazy, let me explain myself. The amazing foods presented on Christmas Eve and Christmas bring my family together around the table (just like after dinner Apples to Apples will drive us apart. Really, we take that game seriously).

Stuffed Shells, delicious.

Christmas Eve for me has always been a big deal. Look decent (read, a pair of comfortable sweatpants and a nice top, hair done, etc), be healthy and look forward to an amazing dinner. Dinner on Christmas Eve has always been good. It alternates year to year, but it’s always some sort of variation on pasta. Last year it was lasagna (both vegetarian and regular), the year before that it was ricotta stuffed shells (which I look forward to year round). They’re always served with a bowl of salad and bread. One year, it may have been last year, perhaps the year before, someone had forgotten to bring bread. What a disaster. My uncle and I went on a recon mission to pick some up, only to discover that stores close by 6 and that we were out of luck. It wasn’t a big deal, there were more than enough appetizers and sweets on the counter in the kitchen, but we couldn’t grab bread as leisurely as we’d have wanted to with only having a loaf of frozen garlic bread. I reiterate, though, it didn’t bother me, not with the sweets sitting feet away in the kitchen.

My mum makes the best

It wasn’t until recently (read- 2, maybe 3 Christmases ago) that I became a fan of foods that make Christmas, well, Christmas. Every year since I can remember, my mum has made a wide variety of foods: a large ham, glistening with glaze, sliced off the bone; a roast that sits simmering with carrots, so tender it can be pulled apart with a fork; fluffy mashed potatoes that don’t stick like glue in your mouth; a yam casserole, which is golden and is has just the right amount of brown sugar to sweeten it; green bean casserole so savory you find yourself going back for seconds; finally, rolls that are golden brown, never burnt and so moist you don’t need butter, but instead can cut them in half and place a small bit of ham on them for a small, after dinner snack. Since I’ve tried the green bean casserole, I’ve never thought of having a holiday without it, it would be like… having Thanksgiving without turkey* or Easter without Ham**.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter... delicious

The final great aspect about Christmas has quite honestly got to be the cookies. In my family, we’re all about cookies and other holiday related treats. As it was, just last night my mum made “reindeer noses”. In case you don’t know (and you’re missing out if you don’t), they’re pretzels, rolos/Hershey kisses and m&ms. They’re delicious. The salt on the pretzel combines perfectly with the sweetness of the chocolate and that makes them something you definitely don’t want to share! From the looks of it, my mum is looking at making sugar cookies within the next few nights. There’s a jar of green sugar crystals and another of red sugar crystals as well as a recipe sitting on the table. I honestly can’t wait, but of course, there are other cookies, as well. To name a few, there are peanut butter blossoms, buckeyes (indigenous to Ohio, of course), espresso crinkles, and my mum’s legendary chocolate chip cookies. How legendary are they? It’s been told to me by my uncle that he talks about them to his roommate and had to ask my mother to ship a box down to him. If that’s not enough, there’s always the fact that said cookies are coveted by my Mum’s side of the family (the very same we visit every Christmas Eve) and she has to make a dozen cookies for each of my uncles, aunts and my grandfather. Of course, they’re best fresh out of the oven, so my sister and I have made it a past time to see if we can successfully get a cookie off of the pan while they’re cooling without mum noticing.

So, having probably bored you with tales of tradition around here, next time you’re thinking about it, I’m willing to bet you’ll probably agree with me in food being what brings people together. Good food, great company and lots of laughs make for better memories than, well, those awful German chocolates you got me last year (you know who you are).

Stay Hungry, Mates!

Chef’s Note,

Yes, I realise not everybody celebrates Christmas, I, however do, and this post is based on traditions that I’ve grown up with.

Also, I realise that not every body eats meat. My dad can’t eat turkey at Thanksgiving, something about it messing up his stomach, so my mum puts a roast on the rotisserie or in the crock pot for him and he has that instead. I also have a relative, who won’t eat it out of pickiness, but that’s different. So, in short, I meant no disrespect to those who don’t eat turkey or ham whether it be because of their religion or if they choose not to eat it because they are vegetarian/vegan.