Wishlist: The Friendly Foodie

Now that I have kids, I spend more time than I would like thinking about packages to put under a tree. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly fond of stuff, and I’ve rediscovered a great deal of the fun of Christmas morning now that I get to see the excitement in my daughters’ eyes. Still, most of my family is fortunate enough to have most of the stuff that we really need, so buying gifts can sometimes feel like an exercise in attempting to demonstrate thoughtfulness through the purchase of a useless object.

Not surprisingly, food is where I really enjoy the holidays. There’s none of the pressure, and while opening presents may be my daughters’ favorite part of the day, for me sitting down to eat with family is what the holidays are all about.

cranberry ginger ale 1) Cranberry ginger ale

Attentive readers already know that I love cranberries, and while cranberry soda might not be the most foodie-friendly use of the fruit (hell, I’m not sure it really involves actual cranberries), but the first appearance of those red bottles just before Thanksgiving is more welcome than fake fir trees, sentimental music, and artificial snow. Hell, I’m drinking the stuff right now.

chocolate orange 2) Chocolate orange

This is actually a British Christmas tradition, and beyond the fact that orange flavor and dark chocolate go surprisingly well together, a proper chocolate orange even gives you a irresistible bit of ritual. Before you unwrap the chocolate orange, you give it a sharp tap on a hard surface. When you open the orange you’ll find it broken into individual segments. Break out the champagne and Christmas crackers and you’ll be ready to wish everyone a happy Christmas. Cheers!

cookies 3) Christmas cookies

Every year, my family holds what we call a cookie party. We get together and mix big batches of cookie dough, most of which is frozen in batches, ready to be baked. None of the cookies are complex — my favorite, shortbread, is the simplest of all — and since there’s (almost) no cooking, we can all be in the kitchen together without having to fight over the oven. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions, and now that I live so far from everyone, I miss it terribly. I’ve had to console myself with these dark chocolate stars from Trader Joe’s. They’re shortbread covered in dark chocolate. I’m on my second box.

clear roads 4) Good weather

Like many people, for me a holiday meal with family means a great deal of travel. Both for me and for everyone else who’ll be traveling I’m hoping for clear roads and clear skies with a warm bed waiting at the end.

“What,” you say, “that’s it?” Yeah, that’s it. I honestly devote more food energy to Thanksgiving than now. I’m just looking forward to seeing all the people I’ve missed. Whatever they put in front of me will be the best food I’ve eaten all year.

Gavin Craig is co-editor of The Idler. You can follow him on Twitter at @craiggav.

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