Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Eating

December sure is an exciting time to eat. One of the most wonderful things about the holiday season is the food. I love to eat. No one appreciates rich chocolate concoctions and buttery sugary cookies more than I do. Nope, no one. Sorry. Don't even try.

We just have one problem at our house. December is also a time when the most exciting viruses are going around and the more indulgently we eat the more liable we are to catch one. After living it up at several early December holiday fetes we all just worked our way through the most lovely hacking goober-y head-pounding cold I've encountered in years. It was exciting.

One thing the Badger hates more than just about anything else is being sick on Christmas. Or having your kids be really sick on Christmas. Especially with the stomach flu. Yech. So every year we face a dilemma: do we play Cookie Police and immediately fling every goodie plate brought by friendly neighbors into the black depths of our garbage can or do we just go hog wild and resign ourselves to the fact that all of us will probably be wiping our noses on our stockings on Christmas morning?

There's got to be a middle ground, and I keep trying to find it.

A lot of what attracts us to our holiday food is very emotional. Foods that have been long-standing family traditions become very nostalgic and we can sometimes get a little irrational about them. There's things I'm having a hard time giving up as a part of my Holiday food roll even though I know they make me feel sluggish and headache-y because it won't seem like a proper Christmas without them. As I thought about how silly this really is it occurred to me that none of my kids have these attachments yet. My young family is in the perfect stage right now to shape what traditional foods our children become emotionally attached to. So I've been trying to think up a bunch of truly scrumptious winter treats that are healthy and get my kids excited about them. There's some great stuff in season this time of year.

Here's my fantasy:

Bean, 2040 AD: "We always had tons of those little Clementine tangerines around the house at Christmas time. Me and my siblings ate 'em like candy."

Fish, 2050 AD: "I remember my mom peeling pomegranates during the holidays. We were always fascinated to see how they opened up and were full what looked like little red jewels."

Roo, 2060 AD: "I buy a big tub of dates every December. It's a tradition that goes back to my grandparents. I remember my mom snacking on dates in the late evenings as she sat by the Christmas tree with her book after we were all supposed to be in bed. Sometimes I would get out of bed and come lay on the couch by her and she would give me one."

Rabbit, 2070 AD: "So you young whippersnappers want my wassail recipe? I got it from my mother. You know, it has no sugar in it, just 100% fruit juice with cinnamon and cloves. Best you've ever tasted, isn't it?"

Now, I do not intend to entirely do away with the sugary treats. Oh, no. See Paragraph One. I just want to be moderate about it and not let December turn into a fudge and cheeseball avalanche.

You know, you can turn more than just cookies into jolly holiday food:

What are your favorite healthy holiday treats? I need to know.

P.S. I'm supposed to report on my weight loss, which is a whole 'nother can of worms in relation to holiday eating... However, I'm pleased to say that thanks to the nasty cold the couple of pounds I picked up over Thanksgiving are gone and I'm holding steady.... so far.

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Felix said...

"2012 AC: I remember eating fresh tomatoes in january cut finely into small pices mixed with fresh cucambers and small chunks of goat feta, with a little bit of olive oil"

I imagine that to be my reality a few years down the road when i finally build my own home with large greenhouses attach to it.

Thanks god i was never attached to junk foods, maybe it's because back in ukraine we had no money to buy goodies at the store, only sometimes at weddings and birthday parties we gorged on chocolate and sweet pastry.

Thank you for sharing, i find your blog quite amusing.

Jenilyn said...

My family has started having a yearly "Bethlehem Brunch" where we act out the Nativity and then have brunch with pseudo-Mediterranean foods. Lots of fruit, pitas, hummus, saffron rice, chicken, fish, and nuts---things that they might have eaten in Bethlehem. It's simple, healthier than a lot of things we could eat, and a fun tradition for the kids. (They also like the fact that we have cake and sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, but that's not quite as healthy...)