Food is a very important part of Christmas. You know it, I know it, and everyone else knows it. Anyone who denies it is lying.
In my household the feast of foods begins on Christmas Eve. This is when I make a big ol’ ham, using a modified version of my grandfather-in-law’s recipe. I start by slow-cooking the ham (if possible – occasionally we’ve gotten one that was too big for the slow cooker) all day. At the beginning of the slow-cook I’ll spread a nice coat of brown sugar on top of the ham, and during the last hour or so I’ll throw some pineapple slices on top (if I remember to buy them…pineapple slices are this meal’s cranberry sauce for me). To serve with the ham there is a delicious sauce that is basically made of pineapple juice, brown sugar, and raisins. Depending on what we’re feeling like I’ll make either potato salad or cheesy scalloped potatoes to go with the ham, and by early evening we are all quite docile and ready to sit back and relax with some Christmas shows.
Now, things may change a bit this year since my daughter is now old enough to be very aware of Christmas, but usually I would get up early on Christmas morning and cook a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast, and we’d eat before the little one ever woke up. This year, however, it’s very likely that she’ll be the first one up, so we may have to change things up and possibly have our breakfast as a mid-morning break from opening presents. I am not cruel enough to bring a 4-year-old downstairs on Christmas morning, let her glimpse her toys, and then make her sit and wait while the adults flitter about eating bacon.
And then, of course, there’s the coup de grace…the Christmas dinner. I make my stuffing from scratch with torn up bread, celery and onions, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, and butter, and pack it all in the bird. to cook the turkey I forgo the traditional roasting-pan-in-the-oven in favor of an electric roaster, which is basically just a really big slow cooker. Before I start cooking I paint the turkey with butter and flavor with poultry seasoning. Then I cook on high for an hour or so to get things moving before turning the temp down low so that it slow-cooks throughout the day. And I baste regularly, of course. When the turkey is nearing completion I set the potatoes, carrots, and turnip to boil, and get mashing with lots of butter. My mother usually makes the gravy while I’m handling everything else; she makes it from scratch using the turkey drippings, the boil water from the veggies, flour, and soy sauce. Make a box of Stove Top just to make sure there’s a ton of stuffing (because, duh), and we’re ready for the most important meal of the season!
(Honestly, I could probably just have this and still be happy.)
And then it’s off to the living-room floor to exhaustedly help missy de-box her presents. Usually this step is accompanied by rum and eggnog.
Do you look forward to Christmas food as much as I do? What kinds of food-related traditions do you have? Do you do the cooking yourself or let others feed you? Please share!