Welcome back Alpaca Roamers for the final story in the Appetite for Memory mini series. Friends and family have shared their stories with us over the past few months but today it is time for me to share my fondest food memory, Christmas. I have been writing this blog post in my head for months but it hasn’t made it to my MacBook until today. It just hasn’t felt like Winter nor the holiday season for me yet but this morning I got that familiar feeling. My dreading the holiday melted away and nostalgia took over. The comforting feeling of knowing I would see my family just days into the new year, knowing that the bakery boxes I made for friends have been delivered or are en route, the Winter Solstice and the fact that snow is finally falling here in the foothills is giving me, “all the feels,” as they say. So with my coffee, fur buddy and Christmas music streaming I offer you the final food memory story of 2017.
I am adopted which makes my parents super heroes in my book and in a country called “The Melting Pot” our own little family is it’s own melting pot. My mother is Polish, my father is Scottish and English and then there’s me, their tall, brown Andean Venezuelan daughter. So you may wonder what Christmas looked like in our house during my child hood. Well, it starts with stringing up the lights in and outside of our suburban Ohio home, continues with setting up the tree as a family, cookie baking, my aunt driving in from New York and then it was Christmas Eve. On this night Mom and I would prepare lasagna, because she passed on her love of Italian food to me. We would make a few side dishes, dessert and then the four of us would eat by candle light. We would talk, laugh, enjoy the food and each others company. I have no idea when or how our lasagna tradition began but after doing it one year it stuck and it has been that way ever since. To this day I still make lasagna for myself on Christmas Eve no matter what shift I work. I prepare my own version of it in adulthood but the basic principle is there and of course the nostalgia.
Christmas day holds another tradition for our family. At some point during my middle school years my father and I started watching Emeril Live on Food Network before it expanded into what it is today. It was our Father Daughter time and we actually made some of the recipes that intrigued us from the show. One such recipe was waffles with banana pecan maple syrup. One year, we decided we would make it for Christmas breakfast. My father had been making waffles for my mother and me for years; it was a simple Oster recipe that came with their blender nearly forty years ago. When we added Emeril’s banana pecan maple syrup it made the dish even more special and so that became our Christmas morning tradition. Mom and my aunt would relax in the living room while Dad and I made waffles and syrup for the family. It was one of a handful of recipes we made together and that too is a tradition that I maintain to this day.
I have never changed the waffle and syrup recipes from my childhood but from time to time my chef brain wants to develop new recipes with a Native riff on my food memories. Being I have relocated to Colorado and am in blue corn territory I wanted to develop a blue corn waffle that everyone could enjoy, gluten free and vegan diet followers included. While I am not 100% satisfied with my recipe yet (but very close!) I do want to offer both the recipes from my childhood as well as the Bow and Arrow recipe for their blue raspberry waffles. Their corn products are excellent, they offer bulk rates and discounted shipping on orders of a certain size.
As I watch the snow fall and peek at my snoozing dog companion I reflect on the journey that is both behind me and ahead of me. I sincerely hope these stories have peaked your interest in food, food memories and inspire you to perhaps begin new or pick up old food traditions of your own. Whatever and however you celebrate this time of year, I wish you happiness, good company and of course good food!
~Feliz Navidad, próspero Año Nuevo y buen provecho
***Note: Four Directions Cuisine LLC has not received any free products in exchange for promoting Bow and Arrow Foods.