A Merry Culinary Christmas!

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

The holiday season is full of activity, parties, decorations, rituals, traditions and FOOD, no matter what faith you do or do not practice. While we all enjoy the music, gatherings with christmas friends, shopping for and giving gifts, time with family (we DO enjoy that, right?), I’m willing to bet that there isn’t a person alive who would say they don’t enjoy the food that accompanies the season.

My family attended a “cookie swap” at a neighbor’s house this year, which was great fun. In addition to the cookies, the kids dove into a giant pot of hot chocolate while the adults took advantage of my friend Heidi’s rum punch. The older kids made grilled cheese sandwiches for everyone and it was a great get-together. My husband brought along a high school friend and his family, who came through town on the way to Tennessee. These guys hadn’t seen each other since 1986. So, we ice skated then settled down to have sushi and Tex-Mex together (thanks, TakoSushi!)

This year my sister and her family came home from Houston for Christmas. My three-year-old niece made my mom aware that she had eaten snow crab legs at some point in time and was in need of her own “cracker.” Mom found lobster claw-shaped crab crackers for her and settled on us having a glorious seafood themed Christmas. And, trust me, there were no complaints here! So, on Christmas Eve I made crab cakes while mom and dad went to the airport to pick everyone up. We paired our crab cakes with my dad’s shrimp and grits, which was off the chain. This version involved a light brown roux, peppers and Andouille. Add some salad and it was off to the races.

On Christmas, we did the traditional ham (I LOVE ham!), sweet potatoes, broccoli casserole, macaroni and cheese. My husband was delighted that my mother-in-law brought her deviled eggs, which he gives a blue ribbon. But the day after Christmas was crab legswhen Clara got her chance to break in her new crab cracker. Now, we all know that no sort of cracking device is necessary with Alaskan crab, but hey, she’s only three. We had a giant platter of snow crab, boiled corn and potatoes, and focaccia bread. Turns out, Clara is like most kids. While the cracker seemed so necessary & grown up at first, she prefers to have an adult just open up all the crab legs and place a pile of crab meat on her plate. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind that setup myself!

So, we had our culinary feasts to celebrate Christmas and it was just wonderful. I’m sure that you all had similarly satisfying suppers at your house. “Eat, drink and be merry” starts with the food because it’s the best part…it brings us together, demonstrates our love for each other and gathers us to the table to share our time with each other. Happy New Year and Bon Appetit to you all.

Elizabeth Akre is a mom, a Realtor®, and an avid and completely amateur home cook. She writes “Gastronomy (by a Wanna-be Chef)” and would love to have you read and follow the blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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