Recently, there has been much debate about water boarding as a torture. It is, at least, a controversial interrogation technique. I have a much better one that I am sure would be considered inhumane by Congress. Mine is to sit in the room where my partner is preparing holiday dishes and smell the aroma without being able to sample the product or even lick the bowl. I have been on a diet and have shown remarkable restraint but the Christmas food aroma is cruel and unusual punishment. I haven’t even been a threat to our country; as a matter of fact, I am one of it’s best taxpayers. So, it’s not fair for me to suffer.
In the past we have usually repeated the Thanksgiving menu for Christmas dinner. This include turkey and dressing with all the trimmings. Sometimes we have what is considered a more traditional Christmas meal with ham instead of turkey. The traditional Christmas dinner also consist of scalloped or mashed potatoes as well as other vegetable such as green beans or squash, which may be in the form of a casserole. Of course, there are Parker House Rolls and other delicacies. Of greatest importance are the desserts. The dessert aromas are the ones that drive me crazy. We have all sorts of pies including chocolate, butterscotch, cherry and pumpkin. Mincemeat pie and fruitcake are Christmas traditions but sometimes smell better than they taste. Mincemeat doesn’t seem to be as popular as it once was. Mincemeat is an interesting dish that contains all sorts of fruits, nuts and spices and the cloves make it very aromatic. Classically, the mincemeat contains a meat such a pork or at least suet. We usually make a meatless variety with the contents of a ready made product poured into a homemade pastry shell.
There is also a big feast on Christmas Eve. Tamales are one of my favorites dishes on Christmas Eve and are usually purchased from a Mexican acquaintance whose mother or aunt is the best tamale maker in the world. Since I am now retired, I have lost many of my contacts and am considering making my batch of tamales. Tamale making is quite a project. I have a good recipe. Chicken and pork along with cumin, chili powder and other spices are the essential ingredients. This is spread on a dough made of mesa and the broth from the pork and chicken. All this is placed onto a corn husk and made ready for steaming. It’s the perfect food for Christmas Eve.
Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without eggnog. The basic stuff always appears this time of year in the milk counter of the grocery store but must be enhanced with Blue Bell Ice Cream and a little dark rum.
Anyway, if the aromas in my house could be bottled they would be effective interrogation tools for the CIA. Any terrorist would breakdown unless they had a taste of the goodies. For now, I have to be content to just smell on the porch and know that the aroma is food for the soul and spirit but the product corrupt for the body.