Remember being 7 or 8 and asking the good old question “do you like seafood?” and then sticking out your already been chewed, food-filled tongue while yelling, “SEE MY FOOD?” …whether the person answered ‘yes’ or not? YA–I’m proud to say I’ve grown out of that stage and I eat the actual good stuff! Truth is, I was raised with a fabulous appreciation of all eclectic types of food and really loved my family’s cooking–except “tripe”–because god help me If I’m going to eat a bowl of chewy linings to a cow’s stomach–whether it’s in a red sauce or not, I’M ALL SET.
*below is an actual phone conversation from approximately 10:43 am on Dec. 24th 2015*
Mom: SO, tonight for apps we are going to do the smoked fish, snail salad, shrimp cocktail, cheese & crackers–and stuffies. Next course will be baked stuffed shrimp, and new england clam chowder. After that, we’ll do Dad’s fish baked casserole with tomatoes and onions and I’m gonna make the linguine alio with olives, onions, garlic, banana peppers and clams–oh and I’m leaving some linguine without the clams, if people want it that way too. …and the stuff that you’re bringing…. you think that’s enough?!
Me: hmm…no…not at all. HA. I’m bringing blueberry goat cheese and making an orzo dish with portabello mushrooms, garlic, onions, spinach… but that doesn’t even matter when you hear about all the other stuff!
Did I mention nothing is store bought? Except the crackers and cheese (haha). …AND the wine.. because they didn’t feel like getting barefoot to crush the grapes this year. Kidding. Ew. Tonight is the night for my parents ULTIMATE-ANNUAL-CHRISTMAS EVE SPREAD. It’s no joke people, this is real, and happens annually. Although, we’d have it monthly, it gets expensive!
I think it’s safe to say that some people just “don’t get it” when it comes to entertaining–and others (my family) could run a freakin’ restaurant and feed families across the globe with the amounts of food made for holidays that involve 15 people. OK, maybe that wording was harsh. It’s not that families don’t “get it” it’s just that their holiday meals can’t compare–OOOF!–that was rude too, Okay, just come over and see for yourself how amazing the selection is. The only thing is, you’re kind of screwed if you don’t like seafood! (You can have cheese, crackers, my orzo dish, and the “clamless” linguine, though!) I, personally like to believe/am confident in the fact that, my family GETS IT. Maybe not in the “sane” department (HA!) BUT–in the food/drink department, for sure. Need a wine recommendation for seafood? Go with WHITE–and we love Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, or Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc–both from New Zealand–shout out to all my peeps over there at the vineyard.
Ever since I was a little girl (last year) I can remember the spread. Different traditions for different holidays, food for an army–and their neighbors–a full bar set up, appetizers, cheeses, meats, macaroni, meatballs, chicken, cupcakes, donuts, seafood–WHATEVER THE HELL YA WANTED–it was there. Store bought? God, no. Everything was made…by an italian relative–or a “family friend” who we called auntie/cousin because let’s face it, it was close enough. It’s amazing to me how much help with the “menu” we have when someone hosts a holiday or party. Every family brings an appetizer or dessert, helps you clean, helps you get to your drinking “happy place” (duh), but most importantly–is there to spend time with FAMILY. What more could you ask for!? SOME people don’t have this luxury…or 110 people on their guest lists for parties–can’t figure out which it is.
Growing up with Grandma Lucy (lord bless her crazy heart) we were brainwashed into thinking other people couldn’t cook, and we should ONLY wat our family’s food. …We later learned that other families actually COULD, but she was partial to our family recipes–and felt no one could compare! NOTHING, and I mean Nuuuuuh-thing could trump “her family”. SO, I guess that’s where my snotty attitude of NEVER EATING sauce out of a jar came from. She had the same attitude about “jar sauce”–yet because we had her wrapped around our finger as kids, bought us the 12 pack of Spaghettio’s from “SAM’S” if we begged for it. My mom refused to buy that “crap”, but Gram allllllways had our backs when “they” said NO.
Around the holidays, especially, you start to miss the people we have lost along the way. It’s sometimes difficult because you wish they could still spend these holidays with you, and your new family–but then you realize “that’s life”. Well, “It’s A Wonderful Life” (how’d you like that Christmas reference?). Honestly, I am so fortunate to have my parents here, and so many loved ones who care a TREMENDOUS amount for me and my children (Brian too, I guess), that I can’t help but think of families who are less fortunate. That being said, leaving stop and shop this morning I handed Penelope some quarters to give to the lady ringing the Salvation Army “bell” and she told the lady…”No thanks! It’s my money.” (…aaaaand we are still learning how to “give”). SO, I’ll leave with you that, and the mouthwatering FOOD pics. Enjoy. Bon Appetite. Which is french, because I don’t feel like googling the Italian version. Oh yeah– MANGIA!
From the bottom of my DRAMATIC heart, I wish you all a WONDERFUL holiday season and nothing but “HAPPY” in your 2016!
Check out our slideshow from the Ugly Sweater Yankee Swap!
we are definitely the “jolliest” bunch. (too bad i only got pictures of my family and the food–I swear there was other people there, and gifts for the swap. Some photographer I turned out to be).