Special food

Sitting down to make what may be the last shopping list and menu plan for 2021, I’m struck by how I’m deciding what to cook for Christmas dinner.

german christmas cookies in a box
German cookies from Mellissa: not a meal. I’ve tried

I’ll be alone here, with a Poodle or two. 1 week into my solo run for the next few weeks or months, I’m finding it challenging, not getting tired of a dish while working down a 4-portion recipe of it after the night I cook it. I froze 4 quarts of pomegranate soup, a few days ago!

You’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s a good thing to do with pomegranate soup, though my first choice would be to compost it!” But it’s pretty good. Has beets, barley, mung dal, some interesting herbs (angelica!) as well as a surprisingly sweet-leaning flavor.

It’s not what I’ll want for my holiday. In the freezer it’ll stay, though the handy 1-quart bags will make for easy lunches.

Nor is turkey what I want for Christmas food, even if it’s a single serving of a turkey dinner that I could concoct or procure.

I decided to flip through our house binder of favorite recipes. Many of them we eat regularly, such as Red Lentil Thai Chili. Others, it’s just seasonally. Still others we reserve for special occasions … random special occasions like finishing up the kitchen (complicated frosted cookies!) or a few weeks after finishing the liver cleanse (Mom’s spare ribs!). Or not so random special occasions: we have made Tourtière or French Meat Pie on several Christmas or New Year’s Eves.

Nothing in the binder called to me, aside from the very festive and tasty cauliflower onokomiyaki. It still seemed too mundane: I like it so much, we’ve cooked it several times this year.

I thought of the various cookbooks we have that say FUN or FESTIVE to me, and one came top of mind: Molly on the Range. In particular, a smoked gouda mac & cheese recipe came to mind. Something about feeling a little marooned (or maybe unmoored?) in the midwest while literally all of my family, except our dog, are in the west, now.

Molly’s book is about living in the high plains when you came from other places with different cooking traditions and flavors. So, many of the recipes are casseroles with some remarkable flavors added, or middle eastern or asian recipes with an extra sprinkling of comfort textures added.

And so, to the menu plan I’ve added Jerusalem Bagel Dogs. Yep, weiner wraps, but with homemade dough. Sausages have almost always meant “special” to me: out at sporting events, or spending time with good friends near a grill. They are typically in a milk can supper! Or in a German restaurant: the food of my people and usually a darn good time, as well.

So here we go.

Also, visiting Jerusalem is on my bucket list.

What is special to you, when it comes to food for regular or not so regular events?

2 responses to “Special food”

  1. Arah,

    Your cooking adventures sound so exotic!

    The last line in your post caught my eye. I’d love to talk about your Jerusalem plans… I lived there for a year & that’s where Steph & I met. This was from one of my trips back. It’s one of my favorite pictures. I’m standing on the Hebrew University campus on Mt. Scopus (where I went to college & met Steph). You are looking west & should be able to see the Dome of the Rock in the background. Gabriel was 6 months old.

    Jeremy

    [image: Jeremy, Gabriel Hebrew U balcony.JPG]

    • Jeremy: your stories and photos from Jerusalem are 75% of why I want to go there! The other 25% is about food, history and humanity, I suppose. Let’s talk soon!

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