"Or white bread and new milk..." ~ Jane Eyre
Of course holiday decorating begins in the kitchen. If it were not for the kitchen, there would be no holiday. Decorating fireplace mantles or doors are not nearly as important as decorating the kitchen for Christmas...because all things Christmas begin in the kitchen:
carrots for the noses of snowmen
popcorn balls for the Christmas tree
hot cocoa and cookies for Santa
buche de noel
vanilla extract for cookies
roasting pans for Christmas dinner
the roast beast and who hash
Even frankincense and myrrh are actually something one can ingest.
Gingerbread is the decor in my kitchen - gingerbread cookies on kitchen towels, trivets, and placemats. I have a gingerbread shaped tier with cookie plates on the table along with print outs of various techniques on how to decorate gingerbread houses, for I plan to make one with Jack. I don't think I have made a gingerbread house since I was a child, so I look forward to going to the market with Jack so he can help me pick out the candy to decorate our house with. I think we are going to cut corners and use graham crackers. He loves barnyards and animals, so in my head I am trying to think about how to incorporate that into the design of the "house."
Already there are potential recipes for Hanukkah, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which are clipped to my refrigerator: pastry encrusted salmon, sweet potato latkes, gingerbread cookies, potato gratin with Gruyere, green bean salad, jelly roll cake. I have special spices in tea bags for cider that I got up at a farm stand in Carmel, New York, and chocolate covered marshmallows for those nights when plain ones wont cut it for cocoa.
One of the greatest food experiences at holiday time in New York are the chesnuts made by the street vendors. You cannot stand on a corner on fifth avenue without inhaling the scent of them. There have been many times when J.Sarah and I have been looking at the windows at Lord and Taylor and caved in and bought chesnuts because the aroma is just all-incompassing to the senses.
This post has made my sense of taste anxious for breakfast...which will be spent sitting at the table and perusing more cookbooks as I eat in search of the perfect cookie to eat whilst trimming my tree next weekend...