We’re on the final countdown. Just days away from a twinkle in his eye, a squinch of the nose, scarf up those cookies and up the chimney he goes.
As a young kid, I spent every Christmas Eve at my aunt Marilyn and Uncle Tom’s house where I would gorge myself on those pastel hard candy covered licorices as I tracked the jolly old elf’s progress toward our home, hoping against hope he’d find me and my sister all nestled in our single set beds. I was glued to the radio, (this was pre-NORAD ) raptly listening to the DJ’s talk of the man in the red suit fighting his way through the clouds toward the twinkling lights of my little old Utah neighborhood.
Later in my teens we moved the party to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, where everyone was greeted by Grandma’ MJ’s coveted ceramic lit Christmas tree holiding court in the foyer, her collection of Avon holiday plates nestled in evergreens and boughs artfully adorning the mantle, and where I would gather the younger cousins in front of the fire to read to the younger kids from Grandma MJ’s coveted edition of The Santa Claus Book.
As Grandma and Grandpa grew older we moved the party to Aunt Jill and Uncle Ben’s, where I spent most of my time either helping dish out Aunt Jill’s famous lasagna or arm wrestling my studly football playing boy cousins—and beating them—while reciting every word from my all-time favorite Christmas movie.
Today I’m the Christmas Eve party thrower. It’s a much smaller affair than that of my youth. As Smudge gets older, I struggle with the fact that it’s mostly an adult affair, far from the once-a-year-cousin-centric-affair I experienced as a child and teen. Knowing the fond memories I have from my youth, I hope her memories will be as memorable and loved as mine.
And just to be sure, here are a selection of the recipes that bring the fondest Holiday memories to my mouth. Because that’s really what it’s all about, right?
Mom’s Fudge: Just like mom says, “Perfect with a cup of coffee for breakfast.” Oh hell! I listened to her and heeded her esteemed knowledge. Please don’t tell her I said so.
The best, most delicate sugar cookies you’ll ever decorate no matter what the holiday.
My family’s eternal and sancro-sanct holiday Ham and Cheese Egg Souffle breakfast tradition. Once a year, and so totally worth it.
My little sister and I had to make a boxed version of these Blueberry Muffins before waking the parentals and any presents were opened. Torture. Pure torture. Until we spread the hot little numbers with butter and stuffed them into our mouths.
I incorporated Butternut Squash Lasagna into my holiday cooking regimen when I took on the Holiday hosting duties for an amazing organization I volunteered for. You’ll never miss the meat.
In my recent issue of FoodieCrush magazine, contributing editor Sarah Keiffer of The Vanilla Bean Blog wrangled some fantastic bloggers and zeroed in on their family traditions. Following are a few snippets of their favorite eats with links to the recipes in the magazine.
Get the full story that Sarah expertly curated and tell me: What is your favorite family tradition?
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