Friday, December 19, 2008

Visions of Sugarplums (with a few sugar quills and chocolate frogs...)

As I'm busily preparing for the Evans' family Christmas, I thought I'd share a bit about our celebration. Particularly, the food!

In our house, Jason is the cook, and I am the baker. (Though as most moms know, I cook the everyday, routine dinners--they're just not as gourmet or tantilizing as Jason's creations...) So for our family Christmas we go all out. I've been known to bake as many as 13 different cookies, plus other delights, such as a chocolate Yule log or German nut stollen.

I have recipes that my german grandmother shared when I was a teenager (thank goodness I set a date to bake with her, my notebook in hand to record them). She was a wonderful baker--she ran an informal baking "business" in her Philadelphia home with her girlfriend. They were known for the hundreds of tins of cookies and doughnuts they created and gave to churches and neighbors every year at Christmas. The recipes that I recorded that day are full of phrases like: "a pinch of...", "two handfuls", "about two cups", "until it looks like", "use a light touch", etc.

And, the dinner that Jason prepares to precede all these sweets is grand. Here's the main event:

Yes, we roast a pig in our fireplace every Christmas Eve... Jason is "the man"! He needs to turn the spit every hour through the night. Surprisingly, after twelve years of sleeping on the couch, he has yet to meet Santa...

But Santa snitches a piece of pork each year as he fills the stockings! The girls have wondered if he gets burned when coming down the chimney. We've explained that Santa has other methods of entering the house.

My personal belief is that he know, he is distantly related to that famous Dumbledore family. Have you noticed the family resemblance: long white beard, twinkle in the eyes, loves children, employs hundreds of house elves...? Santa uses reindeer instead of thestrals because they're less creepy. But clearly he is no muggle. He obviously uses a time turner to get the job done in one night, and I bet he makes use of an invisibility cloak through the year. (Otherwise the paparazzi would have had a field day!) But I digress...

So what are some of your favorite holiday foods?

Have a Happy Christmas, everyone!


Sarah Hina said...

I can't quite find the word I want...dang, what was it again?

Oh yeah.


Wow. I'm so freakin' impressed. Martha Stewart has nothing on the Evans family! It looks like a feast for the mouth, and all other senses, too. Those cookies, and the yule log, are gorgeous!! And that pig looks...well, succulent. ;) Good on Jason. And what lucky guests!!

And yes, Santa is definitely not a Muggle. :D I like your explanations, though. I'll have something to tell my kids now...

My favorite holiday food is lamb (someday, maybe). ;) Oh, and pumpkin pie, of course!

Unknown said...

I saw this on your blog hours ago but I was so hungry that I had to force myself not to read it because I didn't think I could take it. Now that I have a nice filled belly I am STILL drooling, and I'll be showing up at your house on Christmas with a plate saying, please Mr. & Mrs. Evans, can I have some more?

Great great great that your family has a pig roasting tradition, yum yum. Both of you have yum yum posts up right now in such completely different ways. ;-)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

A great post for me today, as I was snowbound - baking up a storm -er...forgive the unintended pun.

Your cookies looked so delish! and that pig...can't even believe it! You were lucky to get your grandma's recipes. That is very special.

I make different cookies, and candies - peanut brittle (my husband's favorite)- but, my family can't have Christmas with out my Russian Teacakes. lol

Honestly, they care nothing about the ham or roast beef or yorkshire pudding, or anything - as long as I have the teacakes for Christmas day.

My husband makes the breakfast. He has his own version of the Egg McMuffin - He calls his, which are far superior, "Egg Gil-biscuits". (basically egg, sausage, and cheese on a Grand biscuit. But he does make them taste sooo good!) Really the Gil-biscuits are famous for miles around.

Thanks for sharing! :)

Charles Gramlich said...

That yule log looks delic. How weird to read about the home made egg mcmuffin. I made those this morning for me and lana. A roll with egg and italian sausage.

JaneyV said...

I'm neither a cook or a baker but I love food. Your baking looks amazing. The summers i spent in Germany as a student filled me with appreciation for baked goods. Germans really know küchen. I think Stollen is my favourite Yuletide treat. Love it!

Hubby bakes the bread in our house. It's wonderful to have a man who likes to do food! Jason's pig roast looks amazing too.

Happy Christmas to The Evans family. I hope the magical being in the big red suit is good to you all! :0)

Sorry that I haven't been by - I've been nursing a horrid flu. I'm just looking at the gorgeous piccie of the ballerina below. My reading of that post got interrupted and I succumbed to flu before getting back... You were a beautiful dancer.

Aine said...

Sarah~ :D Wipe your chin, dear...

Thank you! Though Martha Stewart, I am not, I suppose I could stand beside her with some of my cookies. But if you ever hear me say "it's a good thing", you may slap me...

Santa as a wizard is an amazingly useful theory... the more you consider it, the more evidence you'll find. You know the magic dust that some think he uses to squeeze through the chimney?-- floo powder, of course!

Catvibe~Come on by! The more the merrier!

And, you know, both Jason and I do aim to please (in completely different ways)-- ha!

Kaye~Sounds like you had a wonderful day for baking! Nothing is more comforting when snowbound than listening to Christmas carols and smelling cinnamon and spice. I love Russian Teacakes, too! I make a version called "toasted almond balls", and I daresay they are my favorite cookie of all (especially with tea!).

Somehow breakfast gets passed over at our house on Christmas. Maybe when the kids get older and the unwrapping becomes less time consuming....

Charles~Yum-- italian sausage! I'm not an egg lover, so I'd take the plain sausage on a biscuit or roll. But then it's not so much breakfast as lunch... oh well.

Janey~Oh no-- flu, begone! Sorry you're not feeling well. Thanks for dropping a comment! Now go rest so you'll be on your feet (and not in the bathroom) for the big day!

Happy Christmas, Janey!

Vesper said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely! Maybe you could share some of those cookie recipes… please! :-) And of the stollen, too! It looks magnificent! I love those instructions in your grandma’s recipe book. This is how I cook, I never measure anything, yet the results are always great… :-)
What a charming image I have in my mind of Jason roasting the piglet and playing a secret Santa!
We make pork sausages, and jellied pork, and pork roast, and a sort of brioche, similar to the Italian Christmas cake, filled with nuts and raisins.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Oh wow! Just wow! I am drooling all over the pork! Am so jealous! You know I adore food so this post was perfect for me!

Merry Christmas, Aine! I hope you Jason and the kids have a wonderful time and a joyous new year!


Sameera Ansari said...

Wow!That is such a yummy spread :)

Would love to try my hand at baking sometime.And yes,I am sure Santa is a distant cousin of Dumbledore!