It used to be the case that I never cared much for what was eaten during a holiday. Oh, sure, I liked candy and egg nog and pumpkin pie and stuff like that. But as long as there was food to be consumed, I was fine. The particular dishes were not really that important. It makes sense since I come from a family who really didn't even care about turkey on Thanksgiving.
Since meeting Archie, though, I have become wedded to specific foods to celebrate the holidays. He DOES like turkey for Thanksgiving (but I really, really don't), so we compromised -- we switch off between turkey one year and ham the next. Well, I guess I should say we used to do this -- for the past two years we've gone to Phoenix and celebrated the holiday with Archie's dad and that side of the family. Which is great because we don't have any of the work and we also get to go and eat at some of our favorite places in the world for an entire week. Even though we're not cooking, we're still eating.
For New Year's Day, my family did have the traditional meal of pork and sauerkraut. When we were poor, we had pork chops and when we were flush we had a loin or roast. I have even started to like sauerkraut.
But every other holiday pales when compared to the food of Christmas. There is the fact that Archie misses Arizona Mexican food. California Mexican is just not the same. We've tried to make a Mexican feast on Christmas Eve with a cheese crisp and enchiladas (how I wish I could make tamales!) and rice and beans. And it was almost more work than the big event meal the next day. So last year we went to a little local Mexican place and lo, it was good. And there was no cleanup. And I could have tamales and we can make a cheese crisp at home, if necessary.
Christmas Day is always, always prime rib, broccoli with Hollandaise, Yorkshire pudding, mashed taters and gravy (which Archie has added from his family's tradition because a holiday requires lots of starches and also, we have a child who loves her some potatoes), and pies. One of the best parts of this meal is that Archie makes almost all of it. All I do is mix up the Yorkshire pudding and then put it in the oven once the beast comes out to rest. (That is also when I sneak as many bits of the crispy fat off the prime rib as possible.) It is delicious and that hunk of meat costs the world, but who freaking cares? (Well, I do, a little. Until I actually get to eat it and then I don't care quite so much.)
The only hitch we've ever encountered with Christmas dinner was years ago when Archie decided to change it up and do a pepper rub on the meat. Kind of an au poivre prime rib, if you will. It sounded like a grand idea and all kind of fancy-like. And, of course, we were having lots of guests and so we had to drop even more cash on a bigger hunk of cow flesh.
And Archie used quite a bit of pepper on that thing. In fact, too much pepper. The meat was cooked perfectly, but that rub was extremely ridiculous. Everyone started to sneeze as they ate. Oh, we still ate because under the pepper was delicious, delectable, divine (and divinely expensive) prime rib. But the sneezing kind of dimmed the fabulousness a teensy bit.
So, now there is a ban on rubs and Archie just seasons everything normally and we stuff ourselves and then loll about until we have a little room to stuff ourselves again with pie. Although I wouldn't mind a cake, myself.