Tag Archives: White Christmas

Union

Gretchen Rubin , the habits, happiness guru suggested  creating a one word theme for the year ahead.

gretchen-profile

I almost never think in one word. LOTS of words, easy. One? not quite my inclination.

I appreciate the focus, but was at a loss.

I pondered while I washed up the dishes in the kitchen sink. Some of my best ponder is at the sink, hands in sudsy water.

Not one word.

White Christmas, complete with Bing’s whistling – did he really do that that or was it added in? – That went through my head. Not one word.

white_chrismas_film

Pondered a little more, tidied up, read a little and went to bed.

Woke up in the dim, dark hours and wrote ONE WORD on my notepad. No lights, no glasses. Wrote it in the dark. One word.

In the morning, I checked out the word.

ONION

What did I mean by that?

 

That the year ahead would be in layers, smell bad and make me cry?????

That I need to cook more?

That I’ve been spending too much time in the kitchen?

That my Stir-The-Onions-Syndrome was going to pay off OR bring me down???????

Onions, suddenly everywhere……

onion-pi

Right. Onion pi.

 

After wrestling with the one word resolution, it occurred to me that this wrestling match was not over. I was literally in a headlock. Or literately.

My bedtime reading had been Rebecca Rupp’s How Carrots Won the Trojan War  – and the chapter that I read the night I woke with my word?

carrots-won-rupp

“Chapter Twelve. In Which ONIONS Offend Don Quixote …”

Well, how ‘bout that?

Clearer, but not better.

Reread the chapter…..and there was this:

“The crackly skin (officially known as the tunic) protects the scales from drying out. Because the bulb is a single entity rather than a conglomeration of separate cloves as in garlic, it was referred to by the Romans as unio, meaning united. From unio came the medieval French oignon, the Anglo-Saxon onyon, and the modern onion.” p. 197.

 

Maybe the word was

UNION

That made a whole lot more sense.

Cooking is all about unions – of flavors, of techniques, of foodstuffs, of people, of the past and the present, about time and place and memory and novelty, about fashion and availability, here and there and now and then….

Even if the meal is one orange

orangeplate-jens-mohrskoklosters_slott_

Still life Oranges Jens Mohr 1640

That orange includes the tree

oudry_orange_treeJean-Baptiste Oudry, The Orange Tree, 1740

And those who planted the orange trees, and harvested the fruit, and shipped it to you, and stocked it in the shop and took your money….and even if you have a tree in your garden, the orange still include those who saved the seeds and got them to wherever you are and taught you to eat them.

We’re never in food alone.

The State of the Union has been on my mind, too. Which reminded me that the states are all additions to the union.

Indigenous people, many nations, for several thousand years……

 

Europeans arrive. Spanish first in the 16th century, and in the 17th century the English at Virginia and Plymouth….and also the French and Dutch …..but another 150 years after that  Nation. Although we were called United States of America in the Declaration of Independence, we first needed Independence and the each of those states had to be ratified into the union ….

united-states-america

So the first state – Delaware – didn’t become ratified until December 7 1787. That’s just a short 230 years ago. So, starting in December, I’ll be posting about the foods in each of the fifty states. The Plates of the Union, as it were.

The story of food is about time and place and people. And people over time over place and other people. There’s always an outside influence.And you are what you eat….

But there are other unions on my mind…..

uam-logo

Unions, such as UAW Local 2320. Yep, that’s new for 2017. We voted on November 4th. The challenges, etc and all the other legal paperwork  continued through November, but on December 2nd, 2016 the Election count for the union was ratified. There will be lots more news about this  as the winter continues.

But for right now, there’s soup to start….or maybe it’s a stew….

 

 

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Filed under The Plates of the Union, winter

Twelve Days of Christmas….COOKIES

On the First Day of Christmas Cookies

which isn’t the same as the Twelve Days  of Christmas because now is the time to plan the all important cookie baking, so the cookie days must come before Christmas.

The actual Twelve Days of Christmas are AFTER Christmas ending with Twelfth Night or Epiphany. But you knew that. And I just made up the Christmas Cookie Days. No partridges, no pear trees, not a goose or a hen, French or otherwise, a-swimming or a-laying or a-leaping or a-milking. Just cookies.

Ah…the Cookie Days of Christmas!

After the Pie Ways of the Autumn, it is time to bring in Winter with hot cocoa and cookies. Cookies also travel well, for cookie swaps and impromptu parties and any other sort of gathering.

Cookies are a great little nibbles while watching Christmas Specials on TV – Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer (from 1964)

Nobody likes a skinny Santa - he needs a few more cookies...

Nobody likes a skinny Santa – he needs a few more cookies

or White Christmas

White_Chrismas_film

from 1954. Snow, Snow, Snow – and maybe a Snowball cookie or two…

And Santa is coming to town, and it’s only polite to leave a few cookies out for him.milk-cookies-santa-11259883

Cookies aren’t the only baking for Christmas, but at the ancestral home, they were defiantly a constant.

Some, like Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies are easy and not necessarily holiday specific. And have great back-story. More on that after the holidays.

ccc recipe

Here’s the recipe right on the packet – butter makes a crispier cookie, margarine makes a bendier one, and as far as I’m concerned, nuts are optional.

Sugar cookies are also easy and adaptable. Stir N Drop Sugar Cookies are easy and if you use red and green sugars, festive. Or there’s the prepackaged route.

Nothing easier - and you can spend your artistic energies decorating

Nothing easier – and you can spend your artistic energies decorating while you get great cookie baking aroma

Gingerbread has a long history with the holiday, so that will be an upcoming story.

Stuart gingerbread molds - 17th century

Stuart gingerbread molds – 17th century English from the Gingerbread House Project blog

Oh, Joy! Chocolate Coconut Macaroons with Almonds  are a Christmas cookie.

Shortbread will count as a cookie for the holiday, as will brownies.

Then there’s a long list of Italian cookies…..

some of which are known as  ‘Italian Cookies‘……Italian cookieswhich go by various aliases like Charmella or Sharmella or Jemellos’s or Anise Cookies…..or as my Uncle Johnny would sometimes call them – Snowballs. 

 As for other Italian cookies….there are Susemielle (made with honey – that’s the mielle) which are also known as S-Cookies – but so are so many others…..

Susamielli Napolentani - close enough....

Susamielli Napolentani – close enough….

and there are also Wine CookiesBiscott di Vino, which are cookies made with wine, not necessarily cookies to go with wine…..and little chocolate cookies with nuts and raisins inside…

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies….assorted Cornmeal Cookies.…..

The Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies are only suggestions. Mere suggestions. No Pressure.

Take a deep breath and ponder – Why isn’t there  a “It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas” song?

Bake on.

 

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Filed under Christmas, Holiday, Recipe