December 24, 2012

Christmas Taste Buds Ready To Go

Thus far, I have discussed important holiday sights and sounds, but now it’s onto the good stuff: Christmas tastes. The Christmas season is a time to enjoy food and drink together with friends and family…especially food. We attend parties and events with displays of food that could quite literally be art. The way the food is placed and how it looks just sets our glands to salivate. That’s pretty awesome.

In honor of those Christmas flavors, I thought a blog about Christmas foods was in order.

Let’s start with, well, starters. Every good holiday celebration will have a table full of different appetizers and snack foods. The cheese ball and crackers are a must for any party this time of year. There is something beautiful about seeing a cheese ball with crackers fanned about it. It seems almost sacrilege to cut it, but the temptation of the savory flavor of the cheese and nuts is just too much. This snack food is one that I can’t go without at holiday seasons. In fact, I really only eat a cheese ball around the holidays, so it truly is a Christmas and holiday season food, at least for me.

The second starter just too tempting and delicious is deviled eggs. Oh. My. Gosh. These are my favorite. I have a particular affinity for eggs. I just love them so much. And a good deviled egg is worth every calorie and bit of cholesterol. Heavenly.

Of course, there are always the veggie trays and meat platters as well as some warm dishes. And all of these are just the starters. Whoa.

Now, onto the main course. In my family, the main flavor of the Christmas meal is roast beef. We will also have a turkey for the foul lover, but roast beef is the centerpiece. Now, I am a vegetarian, as you well know, so this is not a flavor of my Christmas, but it is a flavor of my family’s Christmas meal, so I would be remiss in not mentioning it.

To complement the meats, sides galore decorate the table. Salad, potatoes, green beans, creamed corn casserole, cranberry sauce, bread, jello, and, of course, candied yams. Oh, baby, I’m excited already. The sides are really where my heart—ahem, or my stomach—is this time of year. In fact, my entire meal consists of sides only. Even if I made a vegetarian centerpiece, I would still focus on just the sides. They are the best flavors of the holiday season. They complement any meat or protein-product as well as complement each other. Yum. Yum.

Finally, and not to be forgotten, are desserts. From pumpkin and pecan pie to cheese cake, lemon squares, and cookies in all varieties, the dessert table is almost more overwhelming than the finger-food table and dinner table. My favorites are the cookies because there’s always such a wonderful variety. I love the corn flake wreaths made like rice crispies only with corn flakes instead, plus the marshmallow is dyed green. And I can’t forget the wonderful little red hot for decoration.

I also really like simple spritzers, which are basically a shortbread-like cookie. Oh buddy, they have a humble taste, but are addicting. Those simple flavors are usually my favorite, whether in snacks, side dishes, or desserts. I don’t like when too many flavors collide. This could be because I can’t smell thus my taste buds are weak as well, but I appreciate a chef’s or baker’s ability to take simple flavors and make a first-place treat.

This holiday season, I look forward to gathering with friends and family around the foods that make me think of the holidays most. Hopefully, you also have your own holiday foods you look forward to. If not, I suggest some of mine!

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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