There’s something addictive about that moment when you hand someone a homemade treat and their face lights up like you’ve just given them a hug. It turns baking into therapy, food into an olive branch, and those you share it with into a family.
I’ve experienced that joy for many years, by virtue of being the delivery girl every winter. I may have switched from wearing hair bows and Christmas dresses to newsboy caps and tall boots, but that feeling stays the same, and I always come bearing gifts.
We recently asked readers to immortalize their holiday food tradition in words, recipes, pictures or video via iReport so we could show off some of our favorites on CNN's Eatocracy all the way through the end of the holiday season. Christmas may be over, but for White House Sr. Supervising Producer Stacia Deshishku, the leftovers are the fun part.
I don’t know when we began eating Greenberg Smoked Turkeys, but it likely was some time in the mid-1980s. In Tyler, Texas - home of the Greenberg Smoked Turkey - the Greenberg family has been smoking turkeys since the 1940s. Ordering one (or more) each holiday season has been a Christmas tradition in our family for almost 30 years.
We order every year from Greenberg for two, well, really three reasons. First, they are phenomenally good. Second, they are easy - no cooking required! But third and most important, once you finish your turkey dinner, the turkey ball party begins. I actually prefer the turkey ball to the actual turkey, and I’ve been known to purposely underserve my guests so that there is more turkey leftover for making turkey balls. Once, we even ordered an entire turkey simply for ball making!
Just in case you still have, like, eggnog to 'nog or plums to sugar before the second cousins twice removed arrive, consider us Santa's little helpers.
Here are a few instructional holiday posts we love that might have jingled right on by during the holiday hullabaloo.
We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Monday. 'Til then, you can find us by the punch bowl.
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Cookies abound this time of year, but that doesn't mean the holiday table has to face the wrath of a cookie cutter spread. For many first-generation immigrants like chef Suvir Saran, 'tis the season to spice up the traditional feast of their adopted country with old, reliable tastes of home.
New Delhi-born Saran is the executive chef of Dévi restaurant in New York City, where his authentic Indian flavors earned one Michelin star in 2007 and 2008, as well as two stars from The New York Times and three stars from New York Magazine.
He is also the author of Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes and American Masala: 125 New Classics From My Home Kitchen. His third book, Masala Farm, is set to be released in the fall of 2011.
Five Masala Holiday Dishes: Suvir Saran
Four Loko - no way you'd have any of that nasty stuff around. First of all, how would you? The sale of the caffeinated malt beverage has been banned in communities around the country. It's been said to cause hallucinations and blackouts, has driven a New York assemblyman to come thisclose to ralphing on camera, and plus? It's just kinda vile-tasting - like "mildly offensive...puréed gummi bears," per our associate editor.
You should not make your Christmas cookies with it.
Chef Richard Blais burst onto the national dining scene in 2008 when his stint on Top Chef allowed him to highlight the innovative cooking style that had earned him a devoted following at BLAIS restaurant in Atlanta. He finished as runner-up, but returned home to open Flip Burger Boutique with his creative culinary company Trail Blais and works with corporations to develop new products and kitchen tools.
As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with stints under food world luminaries like chefs Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Ferran Adria, Blais honed his classical skills and now continually seeks to marry them with innovative techniques that borrow heavily from the chemistry lab. He's currently taking shot at the title as a cheftestant on Bravo's Top Chef All-Stars, and his new show Blais Off premieres tonight at 10 ET on the Science Channel.
Blais spoke with Eatocracy about the balance between tradition and technique, the power of nostalgia and his place in culinary history. Oh yeah - and he carries nutmeg in his pocket.
The holiday season is far too often a contentious time: which set of relatives to visit, who to host, how to navigate schlepping to all the parties, white or colored lights, whether you put a star or an angel on top of the tree. For my money, one of the most divisive issues is that of eggnog.
Yes, eggnog. It can vary wildly in textures and flavors. Everyone’s familiar with the annato-colored, too-thick, pasteurized sludge sold in cartons in the grocery store. When I bought that stuff, I would cut it with milk, as I kept envisioning that goo going straight into my arteries, exactly the same consistency as it came out of the carton. It didn’t actually make it any healthier, but it wasn’t quite as gooey. We’ve heard about the history of eggnog, but what’s the best recipe for making your own as well as all the equally tasty variations?
For Sri Lankan iReporter Shari Atukorala her mother's jam tarts aren't just a delicious holiday treat - they're a link to her childhood.
I collect vintage cookbooks and product pamphlets. The holidays seem like an appropriate time to inflict some of the more, uh, festive recipes upon the masses. Holly to the jolly, y'all.
Today, in 'A Treasury of Holiday Ideas from Near and Far,' distributed by the New York State Electrical and Gas Corporation, we mine a recipe for Welsh Pork Cake. It involves pork sausage, raisins, nuts, candied cherries and cream cheese frosting - seemingly on purpose. In the desserts section. Hence the "taste surprise."
Its cultural antecedent appears to be Teisen Bork - indeed a traditional Welsh dish of pork, fruit and nuts baked with flour and water - but it is not particularly associated with the Yuletide, so far as I can ascertain with my rudimentary Cymraeg. Then again, all I can really say with any confidence is "Good morning." "Good evening." "Oh look - a magnificent dragon!" and "Leeks are once again on sale at the Tesco over in Porthmadog," so I'm really not much help.
As the last of the stale Halloween candy is shoved to the back of store shelves, an avalanche of red, green and white tumbles into the aisle.
The coming of the first seasonal candy cane means one thing to us: peppermint bark.
Whether you forgot to get admin Alex a gift, need nibbles for visiting wassailers or simply hankering for something spirited and sweet to munch on during the sixteenth hour of the "A Christmas Story" marathon - the solution is just 45 minutes and two ingredients away.