My brothers and sister and I grew up enjoying a "real Christmas dinner" served mid-afternoon just in time for us to take a break from playing with all our toys. Well into our adulthood we continued to gather together around a Christmas tree and a turkey to exchange presents and eat too much. As the years have gone by our Christmas traditions have fallen by the wayside. Chanukah and other Jewish celebrations have become more important to some of us, travel to visit distant relatives has become essential for others.
Yesterday my sister marked the "ninth" night of Chanukah with her annual Latke Flip. Dozens of friends and family crowded into her kitchen clamouring for latkes as her son Daniel stood at the stove frying them up hour after smokey hour.
Today the turkey I 'won' at Loblaws for spending $250 in one fell swoop is ready to go in the oven. Two stuffings have been prepared to bake beside it - the traditional stuffing (including sauteed turkey liver) and a vegetarian offering with toasted walnuts. A spicy broiled salmon will be available for those who aren't fans of turkey. My brother and sister and their families will be descending upon us in a few hours to help do it justice. I'm not going overboard on the side dishes because, as my husband and I always say, "nobody eats".
Yesterday I made the cranberry sauce. Usually we make jellied sauce over bartlett pears in honour of my Granny. This year I've switched to a whole cranberry recipe because I prefer it. I'm bracing for the chorus of disapproval.
Now it's time to start the mulled cranberry punch. I searched the internet for a recipe and this is what I've decided to try based on what I have in the house and the flavours that strike my fancy:
A touch of Red wine
My nephew Daniel will bring the cuisinart and some more potatoes and the flipping of latkes will continue. My sister in law and I will lead the family in the singing of Christmas carols, the children will play the Chanukah songs they learned this year and we hope that Daniel will spend some time getting reacquainted with the piano after his months away at University.
On Friday my sister Judy and I were moved to tears by the Petit Fours and Buche de Noel at Patachou and the memories they brought us of our mother. Cranberry sauce for Granny, a buche for Mummy, latkes for Bubbe - we wonder what traditions our children's children will carry on in our memory forty years from now.
Happy Holidays however you celebrate them and whatever traditions you treasure.