Today we have Ellora's Cave and Amber Allure author Cat Grant sharing a very special holiday memory. This one, I admit, brought tears to my eyes!
This Christmas will probably be a fairly quiet holiday for me. I’ll get a rotisserie chicken and some mashed potatoes from Whole Foods and cuddle up on the couch with my cat to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special, just like last year. I’ll probably get in some writing, too.
It’s a far cry from the busy, boisterous Christmases with my Dad’s big Italian family growing up. We always had our celebration at my aunt’s house out in the country, because we needed her huge dining room – there were usually at least fifty people, what with all the aunts and uncles and their kids.
So yeah, it was a crowd, but it was a loud, fun crowd, full of laughter and stuffing our faces. The food was out of this world! My dad’s two aunts – a couple of sweet little ninety-something ladies – did most of the cooking. All old-world Italian, everything made from scratch. Ravioli with mushroom sauce. Polenta made with real whipping cream, so rich you could only eat a few bites – but they were the BEST few bites you’d ever eat! Homemade focaccia. Antipasto. And that was just the first course!
Then there was turkey. Roast. Ham. (Did I mention there were fifty of us? And one of my uncles had six kids – four of them boys!) Mashed potatoes. Candied yams. Huge bowls of green salad. And pie for dessert – pumpkin and pecan. Homemade cream puffs. Coffee and Grand Marnier for the adults.
By this time we were all clutching our tummies and rolling ourselves into the living room to watch the end of the football game. Then my mom, my sister and I went into the kitchen to help clean up – and make sure we got our share of the leftovers to bring home. Suffice it to say, Mom didn’t have to cook for a few more days!
But it wasn’t just the food that made the day so special. It was the warmth, the laughter, the joy of getting to see people I only got to see once or twice a year. My aunt has since passed on, but her daughter carries on the tradition at her house. Sadly, I live too far away to make the trip, but it’s these wonderful memories that will keep me warm and happy this year – and for many years to come.
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