Food for special occasions
Welcome back to Elle's Kitchen. This time of year is full of special occasions. For some it is the magic of Christmas, others have recently celebrated Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah and there are many others. I even know of a certain someone who got married yesterday (December 24th) (not mentioning any names, jefferymaine!). With all these special occasions come special foods that are only eaten at these special times.
When your character is celebrating a special occasion, do you remember to include Grandpa Frank's special turkey stuffing or the eggnog your character's neighbour brings over every Christmas Eve without fail? Everyone has a special recipe for a special occasion - whether in fiction or real life.
I asked Dodgy Steve to contribute something to this edition of Elle's Kitchen Newsletters. It seemed timely, because last month he made the most amazing cake for his grandfather's wedding. The bottom layer was made using his Aunt Betty's Christmas Cake recipe, the middle layer using his grandfather's Christmas Cake recipe, and the top layer using his great-grandmother's Christmas Cake recipe. His grandfather had asked for a fruit cake for his wedding cake, and instead he got this amazing slice of family history...pun intended. It was really special, and was a definite topic of conversation at the wedding.
So Steve decided instead of writing something (hardly original on a writing site, right?) he'd make a video post for you all. Enjoy, and please bear in mind that this was my first time using this particular photo editing software. It was also completely unscripted, so bear with Steve if he rambles a little bit.
You can find the written recipe here: "Betty's Christmas Cake"
I found this essay by Marcia Landa informative, thought-provoking and very easy to read. I don't want to spoil it for you, but here's a snippet that amused me.
'As Josh and I were cleaning up tonight I turned to him and said, "maybe we should have bought some ham". "Ham?" he said looking at me funny. "You know, the sliced kind you get at the deli. They eat ham on Christmas, don't they?" "Ham??" he repeated. I knew what he was thinking. I knew what the rabbi would say. But I get a kick thinking about Christmas in our house, with the faux tree and the menorah, and bagels and cream cheese with ham.
Okay, maybe that is beyond the pale.'
Lynn McKenzie uses food that is only served at special occasions to help bring this short story to life.
'Later on, Mom would cook ham and her special green-bean casserole, which she only made once a year, with homemade Christmas cookies for dessert.'
When I asked in the last letter for 'recipes for special occasions', hbar sent me his famous black-beans recipe, which his family loved to eat at family gatherings. He said 'It's not really famous but some people like it and it passed our Cuban friend's grandma test.' I think what he meant to say is 'not famous yet'.
Mumsy says that 'Every year in December, we have a holiday party - it's a combination Hanukkah candle lighting and Christmas tree trimming party. I love planning for it, prepping for it, and participating in it. Several years ago, I invited Robert Waltz . He said he would come, but only if I promised to make potato latkes. Well, potato latkes are always a part of Hanukkah festivities. Why, you might ask? Well, that story begins here: "The Festival of Lights" . So up until that point, I had been cheating, and buying frozen potato latkes for the party. But a promise is a promise, so I made potato latkes, and as is the custom when making potato latkes, I (and my clothing, and my furniture) smelled like a latke for days. I will continue to make the potato latkes for our holiday party every year, as it guarantees Robert Waltz will attend! We moved 3000 miles away 3 years ago . . . and he hasn't missed a party since we moved. Here is my potato latke recipe . . . actually, it is my Aunt Sandy's potato latke recipe.'
There are many Christmas cake recipes, and it often depends purely on taste, or more commonly tradition - which one you're used to or which has special meaning for you. Mia - nesting offers her version of Christmas cake here.
After the first time J. A. Buxton made these tasty treats for her colleagues, they were a special request every Christmas.
I know there are plenty of other cultures out there that have special foods for special occasions - why don't you share them with me, and I will be able to include them in a future edition of this newsletter. You can share it here: "Elle's Kitchen Newsletter Suggestions" .
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