Food for Thought: Christmas

Food for Thought: Christmas

For me, Christmas started the second that the price of Halloween candy dropped to 75% off.

I love everything about Christmas. My December days are spent watching cheesy Hallmark movies and counting down the days on my Santa-shaped advent calendar. The off-key but adorable church Christmas pageant makes my eyes well up with tears, even if the angels mumble their lines. No matter what happened in the months leading up to December, the year ends on a high note.

Since leaving home for college, December is extra special. Finals pass (and I pass finals), check-out doesn’t leave me with a fine, goodbyes and FaceTime promises are exchanged, and then we all scatter like strangers to somewhere we call home – free to celebrate the season. It’s the ongoing celebration that makes Christmas have such a distinct feeling. Even though everyone comes from different backgrounds and traditions, the warmth and joy of Christmas is universal. It’s a time of togetherness. We travel and visit, give and receive, love and enjoy – all in recognition of the blessings in our lives.

While Christmas starts for me on November 1st, my mom makes us hold out until Black Friday. After the shopping is done and the tree is up, the only thing left to do is eat. My mom’s side of the family is loud and large, full of people who like to eat and cook and share old family recipes and those Tasty videos they saw on Facebook. Our Christmas party always includes the basics, like ham and some cheesy potatoes, but we also have Filipino dishes my dad makes. The rumor is that when my parents were first together, some of my mom’s siblings were nervous about the food my dad cooked. It’s hard to believe now, because as soon as we get to the party, my uncles ask about egg rolls.

Every year the spread is a little different, but a few standing classics reign supreme. The biscuits are slightly “charred.” Aunt Ani makes the best deviled eggs, and the pudding desert Aunt Traci makes has ended (but also started) wars. My family bonds over these memories, created over passed plates and shared recipes. Christmas is the only holiday where every aunt and uncle and cousin comes together. The only thing every single one of us has in common is food.

While my dad is still keeping his egg rolls recipe close to his chest, my mom loves to tell my brothers and me every step of her recipes. I can’t give away all her secrets, but below is a two-ingredient version of her peanut butter fudge recipe. We take a plate of fudge to every Christmas party we attend, and (don’t tell my dad), but sometimes the fudge goes faster than the egg rolls.

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Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:
A jar of peanut butter
A jar of frosting – vanilla makes peanut butter fudge, but chocolate makes chocolate peanut butter fudge

1. Empty the peanut butter into a large bowl.
2. Melt frosting in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute.
3. Mix peanut butter and frosting together completely.
4. Pour into a cake pan lined with wax paper and let fudge set.
5. Cut into squares and serve in cupcake papers.

Happy microwaving and Merry Christmas!