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A Kinder, Gentler Holiday

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This is the fifteenth in a series of farm reports from our own Tom Hirschfeld, complete with recipes, cooking and gardening tips, and wisdom dispensed.

This week: Tom's Cratchit armor gives way to holiday cheer.


A Kinder, Gentler Holiday

I have never been much for tradition. One might call me a “bah humbugger” of sorts.

In truth, if it weren’t for my wife, there would have been no tree. There would have been nary a string of lights. I am not so sure if there would have even been presents present. For most of my adult life, I just didn’t care.

Then we had kids.


You see, before we had kids, Amy and I managed to have Christmas Eve together, just the two of us -- a five or six course dinner affair, one that changed every year in accordance to our whims and was always served with a bottle or two of La Grande Dame who was, quite honestly, the only visitor we wanted.

But remember, we had kids.

I thought I should write out a list of traditions we wanted to have -- because, you see, I realized that I either had to get into the holidays or give an Oscar-winning performance. Kids demand it, and they should; it is the one time of year they get to play the trump card and make you, as an adult, remember how it felt to be a kid. (Albeit you do want a five ace deck for when you need to play the naughty or nice list hand, or the Christmas Royal Flush as I like to think of it.)

Santa Cookie

So now as each year passes since Vivian was born and Lynnie came into our life, I feel the spirit of Christmas growing stronger and stronger. On a cold morning, with the sun streaming in through the kitchen windows, you might even hear me humming a Christmas carol while I sip my coffee -- yes, there I said it, humming.   No words, though, because I haven’t come that far and I’m sure I wouldn’t know the lyrics.


So in this moment of tidings and joy and in the spirit of all holidays I must thank the FOOD52 community, a community I have come to rely on.   It has become a place I come to for seriously good holiday recipes, and for what will become heirloom recipes once my kids come of age. Yes, if you hadn’t thought about it, the recipes here are going to become heirloom recipes.  

I mean, quite simply, that my Christmas cookie plate wouldn’t be the same without TasteFood’s Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies, or KelseyTheNaptimeChef’s Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies, or mrslarkin’s Sugar Cookies #2, tucked in between other classic cookie recipes I have collected.

So I would love to hear everyone’s favorite FOOD52 cookie recipe and any other recipe that has become a holiday standard. What are your holiday traditions?


My traditions:

1. We have cookie day when we make our Christmas cookies and decorate them.  The girls get to make trays of cookies for their teachers.

2. I cook different dishes throughout the year, rarely cooking the same thing twice, so on holidays I always cook the same dinners each year.   For Christmas it is a roast duck a la David Bouley in his book East of Paris.  It is wonderful and very Christmas-y.

3. I have planted thirty pine trees over the years knowing they will mature at different times so we can walk out and cut our tree from the farm for our house.  I plan on continuing to plant them for lots more years in hopes of having a Christmas tree cutting party each year.

4. Amy always takes the girls to the state museum where they have recreated a downtown Indianapolis tradition.  They have rebuilt the tea room from the LS Ayres department store and each year they recreate Santa Claus-land with trains and Santa.  The girls get all dressed up, have tea and get to see Santa.  Me, I get quiet time.

Quiet Time

Want more Tom? See his latest dispatch: Chocolate Persimmon Muffins & Finding the Perfect Fruit


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