Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cooking What we Love

We have firmly established, I think, that I am not 'super' woman at anything.  This has hit home most recently as I try to come back from my spinal surgery.  I guess a year of suffering and straining back muscles has really played havoc with my stamina.

I already blogged about just doing a small holiday meal with my three sons and no one else.  With each day that passes I realize what a brilliant decision I made.  When I try to push myself over my limit of activity, I suffer for it.  Even yesterday with laundry, vacuuming, shopping and baking, I was whipped by five in the afternoon. 

Our dinner will be nothing fancy.  No turkey breast stuffed with sausages or dried fruits, just plain turkey.  Mashed potatoes from a package (Idahoan brand) - actually my sons think they taste great.  Who knew?

Back to the Jiffy mix - a Michigan company - for a quick corn muffin.  And I already made my cranberry chutney.  Roasted squash can cook in the oven with the turkey. 

Notice anything missing?  I only ask because in today's Detroit Free Press Mitch Albom talks about weird Thanksgiving food.  Growing up in both an Italian and Polish family, I saw my share of 'weird' food at the holiday dinners. 

The Italians prepared 'tripe' - cow's stomach.  Really?  You want me to taste this?  It's child abuse at the very least.

The Polish side had its favorite 'czernina' - duck blood soup.  I am proud to say I have never tasted either of these foods. 

But in America, we have the ubiquitous 'Jell-O mold'.  Green.  Wiggly.  Filled with unnatural stuff in disgusting colors.  Yuck.  I have never ever made a Jell-O mold.  Or made Jell-O for that matter.

The other day a friend was telling me about her holiday meal preparations.  It was going to be one of those pot-luck sort of deals and someone was bringing the Jell-O mold.  To me you might as well be saying you were bringing black mold to my house.  How can this side dish still be so popular?

Not that I haven't had my own holiday foods I always made.  Every Easter I would make tropical salad with pineapple, oranges, marshmallows and coconut mixed with sour cream.  I began to notice that each time I had more and more left  over even as the children got bigger and should have been eating more food.  It has been many years since it has seen the light of day in my home.

I stopped making all the traditional holiday foods about ten years ago.  I wanted to try new foods and preparations.  I think I have enjoyed the meals more.  And I also stopped making so many different sides, but my sons will still ask 'Where are the peirogis?'.

Whatever you plan to eat this holiday, I hope you truly enjoy it.  And I hope you are sharing it with the people you love.  Even the ones who love Jell-O molds.

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