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December 08, 2008



My favorite holiday food moment is in White Christmas. Bing and Rosemary Clooney are sitting by a SWEET fireplace in the mountain ski lodge because neither can sleep. They make up a tray with...wait for it...liverwurst sandwiches and glasses of buttermilk to help them sleep but end up singing. A potentially gross moment turned into a sentimental ditty. nice.


Around Christmas time, my mom always makes a huge batch of this really spicy and delicious Chex Mix called Texas Trash, which came from some old Junior League of Houston cookbook. She makes so much of it that it takes up every container in the house, including the big tupperware cake container. When my poor little brother was only 3 or 4 years old, he opened the refrigerator and dislodged the huge Chex-filled cake container that his big sister had tried to slide back on top. He was showered with ten pounds of Chex which freaked him out, but the rest of us thought it was pretty funny. The sad part was that we had to throw out all of that Texas Trash.


Around Christmas time, my mom always makes a huge batch of this really spicy and delicious Chex Mix called Texas Trash, which came from some old Junior League of Houston cookbook. She makes so much of it that it takes up every container in the house, including the big tupperware cake container. When my poor little brother was only 3 or 4 years old, he opened the refrigerator and dislodged the huge Chex-filled cake container that his big sister had tried to slide back on top. He was showered with ten pounds of Chex which freaked him out, but the rest of us thought it was pretty funny. The sad part was that we had to throw out all of that Texas Trash.


My Christmas food memories always center on making cut-out cookies, which we would do every year with the same recipe and the same cookie cutters. My dad would frost the cookies (some things about this still haven't changed - we have to remind him every year which primary colors to mix when he wants to make green frosting), my sister and I would make ornate (to an 8-year-old anyway) designs with a variety of sprinkles, and then my dad would get annoyed because it took us forever to decorate and we'd never let him eat our masterpieces when we were done. We still get together with aunts and uncles to make these, and now I have little cousins causing the problems - like when my 3-year-old cousin decided to take a little nibble out of every cookie she decorated.


My favorite holiday food memory is when my friends and I created a holiday meal later on because we wouldn't be able to get together on the actual day. It was a ton of fun breaking out traditional recipes to celebrate afterwards, prolonging my favorite time of the year!


My mother made cutout sugar cookies every year for me and my brothers when we were little: there was a candy cane, the Santas (both face and full-body), a wreath, a tree, etc. She would mix up different colors of frosting, give us sprinkles and we would sit around the table and decorate them. As the budding artist of the family, mine were always the best, of course. And then we would leave them for Santa. My mom still makes about 2 dozen varieties of cookies, so I never have to!

My favorite Christmas movie is 'A Child's Christmas in Wales,' from the story by Dylan Thomas. PBS used to show it every year, but not anymore, sadly. It was lovely.


Ah, cashmere. The master of de-lurking.

My boyfriend and I had been dating for almost a year and we were about to spend our first Christmas together when I decided it would be completely brilliant and awesome to make homemade donuts for Christmas morning. Well, I was a poor college student and I didn't own exactly the right equipment the recipe said I needed. But a meat thermometer and a sauce pot (just the right size for macaroni and cheese!) should work fine, right? I mean, who doesn't love a fresh donut? Of course a meat thermometer does not really measure boiling oil so well, so I was estimating my ass off, and ended up burning the shit out of these donuts (which of course were chocolate, so you couldn't actually tell they had had the shit burned out of them). I so proudly presented them to my boyfriend, and even though the whole apartment reeked of burned oil and dough, he ate up a whole plate of them. A year later we were married, and I haven't made him eat donuts since.


one of my all time favorite desserts is a very simple chocolate pudding pie that my mom makes. she only makes it on thanksgiving and christmas and i think that's why i like the holidays so much. one of my cousins was visiting and i kept telling her about this pie all week long. how it was so good, how the chocolate was so thick and creamy, how a dallop of cool whip went perfectly with it, how the homeade crust was perfectly flaky and had just the right amount of crisco taste to it. now, i'm an only child so i normally get to eat all of the pie i want and my mom knows to automatically reserve half of it for me. but, since we had family in town, we only had enough for one piece per person. so, as i'm anxiously bringing my piece back to my bedroom and excitedly telling my cousin that this is it, this is the moment you will experience euphoria at age 12, i put my plate on my bed, turn around, get distracted and... sit on it. : (


Ahhhh, the Jewish Christmas thing. Years ago, before my brother and I had married our respective non-Jewish spouses, I went down to LA from Seattle to see him. And he and I went to see "Drugstore Cowboy" in, I think, Century City, and then had Chinese. It was the perfect sibling-bonding Christmas.


Oh man my favorite food related memory would have to be the first time I tried to make "candy" for my family and it turned out to be a huge, horrible disaster when I never really understood the part between soft ball and hard ball and somehow ended up turning the candy into nightmarish burnt sugar and cinnamon but my father still lovingly ate every single piece, until on one of the last bites, two of his fillings fell out and the pain was apparently overwhelming but he smiled through it until in the middle of the night he had to go to an emergency dentist. Now, about 15 years later, he still brings up the night of a thousand candy cane nightmares.

Kelly M

my first christmas away from my family, up in alaska, with my husband and my brother-in-law. the refridgerator breaks down. we store food on the front porch. the night before christmas, there was a huge snow storm. christmas morning my brother-in-law dives head first into a snowbank to find something for breakfast.

the projectivist

gosh there are some really lovely stories here!

this is my first Christmas as a single mum, so i'm kind of feeling my way!

listening to everyone's stories, it seems to me those special Christmas memories are the ones that don't cost money or come from a store, they don't have batteries and the latest new-fangled gadgetry - the memories that stand out are the ones that just involve time.

time slows, the lull of companionship and love for your family descends on you as you do something simple, like ice cookies or make snowflake decorations from paper doilies. the fact that you're not the best cookie-maker, that your icing is sort of lumpy or too runny or your snowflake is slightly wonky doesn't matter because you're creating a moment that will only sparkle more in your memory, as time goes on.


Darn it! My favorite was already cited: A Christmas Story dinner scene at the Chinese restaurant - especially the "fra-la-la-la-la-la" singing by the Chinese waiters.

Anyway, instead, I'll present my #2 favorite holiday movie food moment: Home Alone.

Now, I won't lie, I might have watched Home Alone like a bazillion times as an adolescent because I'm the same age as Macaulay and let's just say he might have been my first real crush. (My Girl? Also saw that like eleventy hundred times.)

My favorite food moment is at the very beginning, when Kevin gets into a fight over the pizza and gets relegated to the attic, and pisses and moans about his "stupid family". Because really, isn't that what Christma-kwanza-kah was like when YOU were a kid? Perhaps a little sibling fighting (we fought over food all the time - who gets the wishbone, why does HE get to sit at the "big table", she got a bigger piece of pie than me), a little chaos with the family, and then at the end, warm fuzzies and family togetherness.



I always look forward to the holidays so I can eat beef sausage with cheddar cheese as much as I want want all December long. Any other time of the year eating it just seems wrong.


Ok so this probably doesn’t fit the mold for a traditional classic food moment in a film but thinking of the following scene always makes me smile... In the movie "Love Actually", there is a scene where Karen (Emma Thompson) is speaking with her young daughter (Daisy) who has big news. The dialogue goes something like this:

Karen: So what's this big news, then?
Daisy: (excited) We've been given our parts in the nativity play. And I'm the lobster.
Karen: The lobster?
Daisy: Yeah!
Karen: In the nativity play?
Daisy: (beaming) Yeah, "first" lobster.
Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?
Daisy: Duh.

Later in the movie you see the kids dressed up in their nativity lobster uniforms. Truly funny! :)

This scene always has me in stitches each time I watch it!


When I was a kid, I was a consummate hoarder of food, especially over the holidays. I would go to grandma's house and every time I'd be offered an "After 8" mint or a sugar cookie, I'd stick it in my pocket for later. Sometimes, I'd go into her bedroom after dinner and burrow underneath all the guests' coats and break open the stash. I'm sure more than one person went home wondering how crushed candy canes and shortbread crumbs got smeared into the lining of their jacket.


ooooh, the cashmere....

my favorite holiday food memory would have to be baking cookies with my aunt. she would pull her big dining-room-table-chair up to the counter and let me go haywire, squeezing frosting from the decorators tubes and pouring colored sugar into mounds on top of the dough...i always over-did it, and she never criticized or tried to reign-in my decorating prowess..it was awesome.

and now -i- am the one dragging the chair up to the counter for my four-year-old to stand on...it still -is- awesome.


Every year on the day after Thanksgiving my aunt would sit down with my sister and I and make one ornate, perfect gingerbread house. You see, she had 3 little boys of her own who had no interest in taking the time to meticulously place gumdrops or red hots. Instead, she would come over to our house, piping bags in had and share with us, her nieces, her favorite tradition of the hoildays.

We did it every year. The year we were too little to really help, but ate enough candy to make us sick. They year I pushed the gingerbread off the table mid-temper tantrum. Even the year she was diagnosed with colon cancer.

She passed away in May 2004.

When November 2004 rolled around my sister and I decided that we would still make a gingerbread house. As we pulled out the plastic reindeer and the working miniature street light we paused. My eyes brimmed with memory-filled tears and we looked at each other; remembering our beloved, recently departed aunt who loved those molasses-built houses so much.

And that moment, right there, is my favorite Christmas food moment of all time.


My favorite holiday food memory...

It was the first time I was considered enough of a grown-up to be expected to bring something to the extended family's Christmas Eve gathering. I made Nigella's chocolate espresso cake with cafe latte cream.

Now, everyone in my family can COOK. Like, seriously - a table full of amazing food. So imagine my pride when everyone started coming up to me after dessert, raving about my cake. The best of all--my aunt who pulled me close and whispered in my ear "That cake! It is like sex!"

I make the "sex cake" every year now.


My favorite food memory with Christmas is our annual Ginger Bread Building contest on Christmas Eve. My family is, how should I put it... competitive. Each year we trash talk up until the day, each desperately wanting that bobble head trophy (it has a blank face with a space to insert your own picture). We wait until my mom starts the timer and then we dive in, each using our "secret" candy ingredients. Inevitably, my house falls apart or I can't get my ingredients to stick. This is always such a good time and full of good laughing. I probably should point out that I'm the youngest at 28, so this healthy competition isn't even with kids!


I'm going for a memory... My grandmother was a lovely, charming woman, who wasn't much of a baker normally, or so I'm told. But every single year when I was a child, I would spend an afternoon with her, my sister and my cousin in her kitchen making sugar cookies. Simple rolled out sugar cookies, cut in to all sorts of festive shapes. We would "help", our help improving over the years, I'm sure. After they were baked, we'd get to ice them however we wanted.

The best part? The cookies would get stored until people came over, when they'd go up on the cookie tree. This was a wooden dowel Christmas tree that one of my grandfather's students had made for him. Each cookie would hand on a string and get placed on the cookie tree amidst other little Christmas ornaments. It was the best part of Christmas - everyone would admire your hard work and then you could go eat the cookies from the tree. I still remember the taste of the crunchy icing and the occasional bites of strings I'd get from eating them too excitedly.

I should go find that tree and roll out some cookies, I think...


When I was little, we never ever fried anything ever and seldom *ate* things that were fried. But once a year, when Hanukkah rolled around, my mom would fire up the electric skillet and dump in an inch of oil, and fry fry fry enough latkes to last way more than eight nights.

The house reeked of fried potatoes & onions for days afterwards, but as a kid I just assumed that's what the holidays smelled like.


Somehow, this one manages to cut through even my most viscous cynical tendencies: the scene in Little Women when Kirsten Dunst prances around the dining room waxing rhapsodic about an orange. "Oh, isn't is GLORIOUS?!" An orange. Bless her little heart.

Then they pack up all that shit and give it to the Hummels.


My fave food scene has to be the Chinese Christmas feast in A Christmas Story. Everything about it cracks me up - the singing waiters, the goose neck...


Cashmere and food! Two of my favorite things!

Okay, it absolutely kills me in Elf when Buddy lets out a fantastically long and loud burp while having spaghetti dinner with his newfound family, then turns to his new little brother and says, "Did you hear that?" That joke never fails to crack everyone up when reenacted between me and my friends.

Also, the bluegrass song Barbeque in Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas, with the lyric, "Barbeque lifts my spirit, I swear that it never fails" takes me right back to my childhood and my southern roots.

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