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25 December 2009
Christmas Day

Most of my cooking for the holiday is finished.  My youngest son Jesse, his wife Sarah, and my grandson Wesley, and I all went up to Chapel Hill last Sunday to celebrate the holiday with my oldest boy, Charlie, and his girlfriend, Lindsey.  Charlie has to work Christmas Eve and Day, and Lindsey is visiting her family now out-of-state.

A veritable feast, though, with Charlie's sweet potato and apple casserole (the apples poached in red wine first) and Lindsey's delicious and light stuffing made with rice bread (she avoids gluten when she can)  and her red lentil soup.  I brought a broccoli spoon bread with accompanying cheese sauce and some other steamed veggies. There was also brown rice and a veggie gravy to go with it all.  Lindsey is a vegetarian (well, she does eat fish), so we respect that when we have meals together.

Afterwards, we all had a hand in making the traditional chrushiki, a very light, delicately fried dough twisted and covered with powdered sugar...something I make every Christmas, as my Polish mother before me did.

Tomorrow, Jesse, Sarah, and Wes will becoming over to exchange gifts.  I've roasted some garlic today to go with cheese and crackers and have an apple cornbread in the oven now.  That should be good with the Cheddar cheese. Today, they are in Charlotte with Sarah's maternal grandmother's huge family

Christmas, it seems, is as much about eating as it is about gift-giving, a tradition that encompasses all cultures that celebrate it.  The act of sharing a meal is symbolic and part of every relationship. At Christmas, it's a way to reconnect and strengthen bonds.

And it tastes so good, too!


Posted by reey at 3:30 PM EST
14 December 2009
Today, Fittatta...Tomorrow, Galumpkis!

Supper tonight was a frittata made with onions, yellow squash, bread crumbs, and a bit of summer sausage.  Hearty and warming on a foggy, drizzly November night.  I actually made just enough for myself since I only had two small squashes. 

A simple dish, really.  Dice up the onions, slice the squash, put it all into a skillet with a bit of olive oil.  Let is cook till almost done, and then add the sausage and bread crumbs. Cover and let cook over low heat until the squash is done completely.  Then pour one beaten egg over the whole thing, tilt the skillet to get the egg to cover all the veggies and sausage, flip it over to brown on the other side, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve it up!

Tomorrw is the last day of the semester at the college where I teach.  My morning class has been reading a novel dealing with the Holocaust and occupation of Poland by the Nazis.  A number of Polish dishes were mentioned in the book, so I'm treating my class (good thing it's a small class!) to some Polish foods.

My mother's parents were immigrant Polish farmers, but my dad was born in southern Italy, so home-cooking for us meant a combination of cuisines.  For the class, I'm going to boil up some kielbasa, saute some potato-and-onion stuffed pierogi in a little margarine (because I'm lactose intolerant; otherwise, I'd be using butter), and reheat the galumpkis I made earlier.

Galumpkis: cabbage leaves stuffed with onions, rice, ground beef, garlic, and salt and pepper, and then simmered in a thick soup made of peas, corn, and tomato sauce.

Should be interesting to see how my students, used to traditional Southern cooking and fast foods, react to a new taste experience.  They can't complain too much, after all, because I control the gradebook!  (insert evil laugh here)

Posted by reey at 9:09 PM EST
12 December 2009

Over the years, I have cooked for many others.  First, as a newlywed, I cooked for 2.  Then my oldest son came along, and I cooked for 3.  After the divorce, it was back to cooking for 2 again until, a few years later, I remarried and was back to cooking for 3.  My youngest son made his appearance, and now I was cooking for 4...and 3 of them had hearty appetites!

Sadly, after a dozen years, I became a widow, and then my eldest moved out on his own, and I was cooking for just 2 again.   In the natural order of things, my youngest moved out, married, and began his own family.  I have ended up cooking for just!...for the first time in my adult life.

I have to admit, it is liberating!  I please no one but myself (and my doctor who nags about salt and fat content in my diet), and I can eat the same food every day of the week, if I so desire.

Cooking just for me, though, does not mean cooking for 1.  I've found that cooking for one is neither convenient nor economical, and, for me, not satisfying.  Should I decide on a second helping...there is none left.  If I want the same thing for supper...there is none left.  If I want to pack a leftover for my work meal...there is none left.

So, since I love to cook and now I can experiment more because I cook just for me, I cook in quantities...generally enough for 2, sometimes for more...and freeze meal-sized portions.  And, what I also love to do is talk about what I'm cooking.  Hence, this blog!

I would be overjoyed to have others contribute to the blog and chat about what they're cooking, whether it's for just one or for a big family.  Recipes are welcome, but I can't guarantee anyone else's measurements or cooking times, so use them at your own risk.  My own recipes seldom have measurements because I cook the way my mother and father did: by sight and smell, not by cups, spoons, or ounces.

Please keep your posts clean and in good humor.  This is not the place to upset one's digestion with arguments or anger.



Posted by reey at 1:32 PM EST
Updated: 12 December 2009 3:51 PM EST

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