We get a lot of presents at our house. (Thankfully) everyone in the church feels the need to give something to the rector and his family, usually in the wonderful form of cookies, cakes, brownies, or wine. But every year, one gift in particular truly marks the arrival of the holiday season—dried figs stuffed with walnuts and packed in a classy, festive riff on a Chinese take-out box. (Thanks, Adam and Tim!) We usually consume the better part of the contents of said box standing around the kitchen island the moment after the announcement has rung through the house that it has arrived. We Andersons love us some figs. Also, there is something slightly healthy feeling about nut-filled dried fruit, in contrast to all the delicious-yet-deadly baked goods we receive.
So, yay me! Once in December I eat some fruit and a couple nuts. What about the rest of the month?
Ok, so level with me. How familiar is this scene? There is a big, beautiful plate of Christmas cookies on the counter…baked to soft, golden perfection with red and green icing glistening under the kitchen lights. You’re just gonna have one. Juuuuuust one. Ok, well you’re walking through the kitchen again, maybe just half another one. Oh, the neighbors just stopped by! You have to have another one with them, it would be wrong not to. Finally, it’s after dinner, you’re craving a little something sweet, so you slip your hand under the much-disturbed plastic wrap to fish out another. Over the course of a week (or less, if we’re being honest) every time you swing through the kitchen, one by ever-so-tiny one, you (and everyone else) nibble them all away.
I don’t want this to be me this year. I hate squeezing into my favorite dress for New Year’s Eve and telling myself quietly that it’s fine, it’s the holidays! (It doesn’t matter so much after a few glasses of Champagne either.) It is fine to relax a little and enjoy myself, but really, I’m done with this cycle.
What so many food magazines and blogs forget while we all excitedly post recipes for ginger spice cookies, pumpkin bread, giant roasts, baked hams, and showstopper desserts is that people still have to eat in December…like real food. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean it stops being Monday and something needs to make its way onto the dinner table.
So, here’s a little something that ain’t exactly figgy pudding—but won’t make me jiggle like a bowl of pudding either 🙂