Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Shopping

I don't have a big Christmas Shopping List. There are no little children in our family, so we adults have downsized the gift exchange. I've been making presents for the family for the last few years.

When my Dad took ill a few years ago, I became the Thanksgiving Chef for the family. Aside from Mom's famous jello ring salad, there was no paper trail to Thanksgiving Feast Nirvana.

Now Dad was no Galloping Gourmet, but he did enjoy making the Thanksgiving turkey feast. The feast was Dad's culinary Mt Olympus...but no known recipes survive him. I never saw a scrap of paper in the kitchen while he joyously prepared the bird and all the fixins.

I found my recipes in my email inbox! I subscribed to "Fine Cooking" magazine from their first issue, and for several years before I didn't renew as part of the simplification jag I got on when I moved to the DaveCave. When the magazine came to the internet, I signed up for their weekly newsletter, and many of the key recipes I used came from their Thanksgiving newsletter that first year. Without exception, they were all a hit.

The next Thanksgiving was our first without Dad. The recipes I'd printed from the ,magazine's website were lost in the shuffle. Fine Cooking's website evolved into a membership site, and I couldn't search it unless I joined and paid up. This was no way to run an airline...fortunately Thanksgiving was still a couple of months away.

The November newsletter arrived, and the recipes were no longer pay-walled. With a sigh of relief, my idea of a Family Cookbook was born. Everyone in the family got a copy for Christmas, and every Christmas since, I give new pages with new finds from Mom's recipe file, and recipes I've culled from the newspaper and my Food Channel favorite chefs. The cookbooks are looseleaf binders with a photo of Dad carving the turkey on the front, and Mom watching the show from the kitchen table on the back. I print the pages on National Geographic's Adventure Paper, which is waterproof once the printer ink dries. It's not actually paper, it's tear proof too. It's heavy and has a surface feel like velvet. I suspect it's made of spun olefin fiber similar to Tyvek housewrap.

This year's pages are the Thanksgiving recipes. Some of the Juicy ones I blogged about in November.

So I finished my shopping when I woke up a little early tonight. I won't be home for Christmas...not on the 25th anyway...I'm taking the train home from our family Christmas, when we have it later in the week.

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