Happy New Year!
IT’S GETTING HARDER TO REMEMBER THINGS FROM MY CHILDHOOD. IT COULD BE THAT I’M GETTING OLDER. MAYBE I’M TOO BUSY TRYING TO HELP CREATE MEMORIES FOR MY OWN CHILD THAT I DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF SITTING AROUND THINKING ABOUT THE TIME WHEN I WAS HER AGE.
By the time you read this, we will have made it through the holidays. Whether you celebrated Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa (or all of them), all the holidays share some things in common — giving thanks, reflecting on the past year, and sharing food with loved ones.
My family’s Christmas celebration was one of the few traditions I can remember from my childhood. More importantly, our Christmas Eve meal is what I remember the most.
When my dad left Denmark as a young man, he didn’t look back. He arrived in this country and embraced everything about America, its customs and traditions.
Fortunately, my parents made a point to create their own version of a traditional Danish Christmas Eve meal that we ate every year: roast duck, potatoes, red cabbage and rum pudding (my mother didn’t like rice pudding).
Every year, we did the same thing. We went to church at 5 p.m. while our mom stayed home and prepared the meal. I can still remember the way the house smelled when we got home. We sat down at the table. We ate. Then we had dessert. One dish of pudding had an almond in it. Whoever had the almond got a special gift. Then we opened presents. Finally, we went to the midnight service at church. Every year, we did this, until my mom got sick.
I can remember the last time I had roast duck — Christmas 1987. It was the year before my mom died. Christmas is always tough. It’s not easy conjuring up that memory, but it’s too hard to forget. The nice thing about that memory is that at the heart of it is a meal, prepared by someone I loved for someone I loved. It was a gift that my mom gave to my dad. It was a gift that our family gave to itself every year, whether we thought of it that way or not.
Now that my dad is gone, too, that memory is all I have. That’s the wonderful thing about food. You can forget a lot, but you can always remember a good meal.
I hope the year ahead brings many opportunities for you to share a great meal and create your own memories. Happy New Year!
In this issue:
Edible Magazine’s Jen Ede tells us a story with her food
Toe Tapping Tapas
A small plate Spanish smörgåsbord with our friends at 88NINE
Move Over Willy Wonka
Two Wisconsin women are blazing a trail through the candy-making world
And much more …