Holiday feasts at center of heart, mind, stomach

What do we celebrate? The diversity among all of our lives renders a “Holiday Issue” of any kind a difficult prospect. What could possibly speak to all of the readers of this paper concerning the holidays? By no means would a candy cane create longing and nostalgia in a student from Qatar but, then again, depending on the family, maybe it would. And, honestly, the average candy cane (or Christmas ham or sugar cookies or any other traditional fare) doesn’t necessarily make my heart swell with the spirit of this holiday season.

At the center, though, of the majority of the festivals and revelries that illuminate this time of year is the celebration of food and drink.

So, as much as the candy cane is not an omnipotent force – within each region, culture and family, some sweet treat or savory dish does invoke the memories of friends and loved ones and a reminder of years past.

This, however, is not always a toasty evening of sweet words by the fire (as you, the reader, will find out on pages 16 and 17). But even in the most chaotic and stressful of holiday jeer, one can find redemption in the sip of a cocktail, partaking in the flaming of a special pudding or carrying on a tradition of even the most odd of recipes.

For me, the holidays are a time of intense introspection. I concern myself with the discrepancies and chaos within our world, and even within my own neighborhood. But, honestly, this fades as I surround myself with chattering friends and family and celebrate our ability to clink our glasses together at the same table for just one evening.