So the importance of holiday traditions, particularly the food ones, was on my mind all season. Things like the cookie making, yes, but also the Prosecco, fruit cake and hors-d’oeuvres on Christmas Eve after church; the Christmas Day Italian feast using family recipes that have been around for generations; and the day after Christmas brunch at Grammy and Papa’s with my sister’s family.
I felt a deep obligation to the boys — as well as to remember the rest of the family we love, but wouldn’t be seeing this year –to keep up my usual contribution to the holiday traditions: the Christmas Day Italian Feast.
As an aside: my role in the two other annual eating “events”?
- The Christmas Eve post-church party isn’t cooking, per se. I just have to remember to order our favorite fruitcake from Mary of Puddin’ Hill; buy a couple of bottles of Prosecco; then pop into Fresh Market on Christmas Eve and load up on great cheeses, prosciutto, nuts, and fruit to have after Christmas Eve church with Grammy & Papa. While we all eat and drink, the boys write a letter to Santa and make a plate of cookies for him (and peel carrots for the reindeer, and put out some cheese for Santa Mouse — it’s quite a production).
- My cooking contribution to the day-after-Christmas-brunch at my parents’: drink a couple of glasses of champagne then crack some eggs into one of the brunch casseroles. Every year, I perform these grueling tasks in stellar form.
The Italian Feast, though. That’s on me. And it takes some Planning with a capital P and some serious hours in the kitchen (I roped the boys in to help some this year — increasing their help each year is definitely the long-term plan). I love every minute of it, though, because I know how thrilled the boys will be to see all their favorites at the table on Christmas Day.