When it comes to holiday homesickness, Bing said it best.
I was talking to my sister-in-law the other day about how much I've been missing the kind of crazy, heart-attack-inducing, g(astronomical) throw-downs my family used to prepare for the holidays. My great-grandmother and grandmother were phenominal cooks by themselves (my mom and aunt are only slightly less amazing), but when you added in the talents of my grandfather's sisters and sisters-in-law, our various cousins, and the any-and-every-excuse-for-a-holiday-party mindset throughout the extended family, you were pretty much guaranteed a non-stop wonderland of holiday food from November through January. There's a reason for the rampant heart disease and diabetes in the family, but by God, everyone dies happy.
Unfortunately, these Christmases started dying out along with the older family members. The ones who knew how to celebrate Christmas better than the rest of us. The ones who'd lived without, grown up in the Depression, knew what it was to have nothing, and to go to sleep hungry. They didn't worry about buying the perfect presents, or having a desgner tree, they just poured out all their love and joy and happiness into their signature recipes, and from the food, we felt love and joy and happiness, too.
Now, the holidays aren't nearly so opulant from a culinary standpoint. The food served is expected, the old-stand by recipes, and nothing more. It's going through the motions right along with the rest of the holiday. Sometimes it feels like all the love and joy and happiness is gone for good.
But this year, I made a pact with myself. I'm not going to go shopping at the mall. I'm not going to spend a fortune on gifts. I'm not going to stress about what others might think of me. I'm going to have the Christmas I want to have. An so what if the only thing my husband cares about is whether there'll be mashed potatoes on the table? I'm going to throw my doors open and invite family and friends in and I'm going to bake and cook up a storm for them (and damn the high carb/fat/cholesterol/calorie count) because that's the kind of holiday that'll take me home.