Thursday, December 9

Food and Family and Holidays

Ah, Christmas.

In my childhood, Christmas Eve meant eating the smelliest mushroom soup made with sauerkraut juice. And it was black. As in the color of crude oil. And it stank. Bad. Real bad.

Then we had the tradition of, from oldest to youngest, getting blessed with the sign of the cross on our forehead. In HONEY. If my grandmother got you real good? Your bangs were plastered to the bridge of your nose for the rest of the night.

Then there was Polish kielbasi. Pirogi. Horseradish and beets.

Your mouth is watering, right?

But that's what the holidays are to me. So here I am . . . years later . . . still serving that every Christmas Eve (with the exception of the soup . . . I mean, COME ON. SAUERKRAUT juice???).

And something about it connects me to my larger family, to my childhood, and makes new memories with my kids, who are half-Mexican, and half-Russian and Slavic. They may love Mexican food and have Mexican last names. But once a year? They eat a bunch of weird stuff they can't spell.

So . . . how are food and holidays tied together for you? Anything weird?


Travis Erwin said...

Like every other day of the year my holiday plate is comprised mostly of meat. Eating game is sort of a tradition. Kind of depends on what I or some other family member has shot. Marinated elk tenderloin is my all time favorite Christmas treat, but we've had wild turkey, both liquid and the animal, deer, antelope (pronghorn actually but we call them antelope), aoudad sheep, pheasant, quail, ducks and geese that I can think of.

Wendy Toliver said...

So interesting, Erica! I remember hanging out with a girl from Romania and she told tales of "christmas sausage." Or what about pickled eggs, supposedly popular in Pennyslvania?

Travis, we had elk roast last weekend. It was amazing! I also love grouse and pheasant. LOL about "wild turkey."

Erica Orloff said...

Oh, Travis:
Love the Wild Turkey line. :-)

Erica Orloff said...

Interesting, yes. But that soup? Gross. :-)

kathryn said...

I also come from good Polish stock. We used to have pirogis every year, but now no one has the time to make them. But I admit, I don't miss the sauerkraut.

Melissa Walker said...

Love this!

We always have lima beans for my grandmother (who died 10 years ago). No one else likes them, but there's a dish on the table nonetheless, and we all take a no-thank-you helping, "for Carol."

Erica Orloff said...

LOL! I don't mind it--just not in soup~!

Erica Orloff said...

That's hilarious!

Nadine said...

Christmas has always included Christmas cake and Christmas pudding covered in hot runny custard. Yum!

I can't really think of anything weird at the moment but I'm sure it will come to me, lol.

Erica Orloff said...

And then there's my FAMILY in the mix, too. :-)

Amanda Ashby said...

The first year my English husband lived in Australia he was determined to cook a proper Christmas dinner. Let's just say that his sweat made up most of the gravy so now he has accepted that when you live downunder, you eat ham and salad for Christmas Day and then you go for a swim!!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

What a great tradition, Erica! Glad you eliminated that soup though.

We typically have pasta for Christmas Eve dinner and this is with my Polish mother, not my Italian husband's family (though we have lots of pasta with them too). I think my mom created this tradition for me after I went vegan and she was at a loss of what I could eat. It's very sweet of her though and I love her for it. :)

The Book Brat said...

We don't really have anything weird. We're pretty traditional. We have a huge family. When i say huge I mean 60+ people over for Christmas dinner.

Sara Hantz said...

Unless you come to our house, Amanda, and at the insistence of the children you have full christmas dinner, including bread sauce shipped in from the UK.... ok it's a packet, but you don't seriously expect me to make it with my culinary skills!!

And christmas isn't christmas without home made mince pies (that's sweet mincemeat, not meat!)