Celebrating the Holidays with Food

Our tree is beautiful, and my paper whites are blooming in time for Christmas. Still, I’m dreaming of food. Here’s why:


Instead of shopping after work, we opt for dinner at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. It’s half-off Wednesdays for bottles of wine (yes!) and we discover house-made calabrese on our antipasti plate, along with fennel salami, arugula, buffalo mozzarella, and house-pickled celery. The holidays are looking up.


At our first dinner party of the season, Bobby Maupin, an account executive with Southwestern Wine and Liquors, introduces us to Earthquake, a bold in-your-face Syrah from David Michael Winery with a gorgeous finish. It’s a little pricy (about $25), but worth every penny. Drink this beauty with food.


I stop by Urban Farms in Binghampton and find local chestnuts, gathered from the trees at the Botanic Gardens. I love the way they are packaged in brown lunch bags and priced ($5) with a magic marker.


At Barnes & Noble, I stumble into a cookbook sale: Buy one cookbook and the second is half off. I decide on “Preserve It!” for my cousin and Alice Water’s “The Art of Simple Cooking“ for me. Now I’m wondering why I only bought two.


When I stop by to deliver Sharon’s gift, I’m treated to a unexpected trip around the world thanks to sliced pears and a trio of cheeses from Whole Foods: Ubriacone, a raw cow's milk made with red wine from Italy; a Gruyere special reserve from Switzerland, and Leyden, a semi-skimmed cow's milk from Holland spiced with cumin seeds. (We love the cumin.) She’s also pouring an excellent under-$10 bottle Pinot Noir called Five Rivers. I’m seeing a nature theme to my holiday varietals.


Okay, bear with me. Sharon gets another food moment. My gift: cinnamon almond granola packaged with a “Happy Holidays” sticker, pictured above. Her recipe is from the blog Kristina’s Confections.


And last, but far from least, is a charming reminder that the holidays are for remembering the people close to us. Geography counts. On Starlight Lane, where my Mom has lived since 1963, the doorbell rings. Standing outside are her longtime neighbors and their much younger next door neighbor passing out a basket of home-baked treats with this suggestion: “Take anything you want, but we love the banana bread.”

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