m and I celebrated our first Christmas in Albuquerque together as a married couple this year. We decorated our home with lights and a tree, bought copious amounts of pinon firewood, and put together a Christmas feast menu that we sent out to loved ones to come join and share with us.
Our menu was decadence itself: creamy cheddar cauliflower soup, which happened to be purple, served with pumpkin & cornmeal spoonbread, roasted beets & red onions in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, lemon buttered parsnips, a smoked salmon nosh board and mulled cider all selections from Mary Englebreit's 'Tis the Season Holiday Cook Book.
Growing up we had our annual Christmas dinner tradition: spiral ham with a honey maple glaze, green been casserole, mashed potatoes, and some kind of vegetable. The ham, sweet and savory from its own juices and the honey glaze, was always my favorite part. It was so rich I can truly only recall having spiral ham for Christmas meals, never for any other occasion. My dad took the lead preparing the meal, as he did for most holiday cooking. It's a funny thing, my mom was the primary cook in our household, except on holidays when my dad would prepare a menu weeks in advance, gather his ingredients carefully, and prep anything he could in advance of his big day in the kitchen, whether that was Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving. As I type this, I realize this must be where I've gotten it from.
Now the holiday is over and our once noisy and full house is quiet. Our loved ones have traveled home, or gone back to work, as we have done. But I can still smell the hint of the cinnamon banana sugar cookies we baked, and there's more wood in the garage, and I've got more good books to read yet. So I'm going to hold onto this feeling a little longer - make it last and linger. Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll remember it into the new year, and carry it with me into 2017.
Wouldn't that be nice indeed.