Hello my Foodie Friends!
Our most relished Christmas treasures come with the decorations, the scents of pine, the sounds of music and jingles, and for many, what happens in the kitchen. As I reflect on the Christmas traditions of mine and Paula’s Italian families, the Christmas Eve Feast cannot be overlooked. Coming together to celebrate the holidays becomes a time of giving. It is a time to be with your family and show your gratitude and appreciation of what you have. Cultures all over the world celebrate holiday seasons.
In meeting my wife four decades ago, our first Christmas Eve together was spent at her parents’ home celebrating the Feast of Seven Fishes with all of the fish dishes presented that evening. Paula’s family was more traditional than mine, probably because my Dad was Irish so we had a little of each. I watched with a calm expression as my wife ate and relished the marinated fresh anchovies as part of the antipasto. Jumbo shrimp, baked clams, and fried calamari were also part of the first course, which, I ate too much of. Next an array of dishes began to come out of the kitchen. These included: the seafood salad, which is a combination of crab, shrimp, calamari, and lobster with celery, olive, and parsley in citronette, the Baccala salad with salted cod tossed with sweet cherry peppers, capers, and olives in a lemon dressing, and then the octopus salad, also known as Inslata di Polipi. This is where I stopped and stared at the cut up octopus tentacles sitting in front of me and I loudly proclaimed that, well, “I love Fried Baccala” and politely said I must have some.
The holidays are about getting together and having a good time. Meanwhile back at my house my Mom was cooking an Irish feast for my Dad of Roast turkey and stuffing, clove-studded baked ham, crispy goose fat potatoes, steamed Brussels sprouts, buttery sweet carrots, crispy parsnips, cranberry sauce, bread sauce and gravy. It is about enjoying yourself and the people you are with. Cooking for the people you love is a gift in itself. Enjoy your holiday season. Stop by Compliments to the Chef; your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place to help you with your holiday gifts and culinary needs. We hope that 2020 brings many blessings, laughter, health, and happiness to you and your families. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen!” Happy Holidays to all of our Foodie Friends!
John & Paula