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Karlie Tipton, Editorial Assistant
Photo by STEVEN WALKER
Eat, Eat, and Be Merry
By Karlie Tipton
December 5, 2013
Not to stir up any controversy, but Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.
I know: With all the Black Friday death matches, billions spent on cheap knick-knacks no one needs, and the legion of companies exploiting their workers for a few extra dollars, it’s easy to dismiss the whole season with a “bah humbug” and lock yourself in the house until January 1.
But there is one reason why that time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s will never lose its magic for me: food.
For our November/December issue of Oklahoma Today, readers submitted their prized holiday recipes. From Apple Pie with Drunken Cherries submitted by Linda Gronewaller of Guthrie to Firecracker Bacon from Jenny Hales of Arcadia, our readers had no thoughts of money or glory when they sent us their delicious recipes. Rather, these folks simply wanted to share a plate full of happiness from their immediate family with the rest of their Oklahoma family.
The magazine’s ridiculously talented design assistant, J.J. Ritchey, known to us as “Jen,”, recently baked a batch of schnetka—a German pastry made with cream and cinnamon—and brought it to work for the editorial staff to share. Although this was not necessarily a holiday-related activity, Jen’s generosity and the warm cinnamon flavor did more to bring us together than any official meeting could.
Although it seems far-fetched that a baked good could create such a strong feeling of cohesion, it has been proven throughout history. In his most recent book, Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the importance of the home-cooked meal and its ability to nourish our bodies as well as our souls.
Pollan discusses how whole-hog barbecue in the South once was a community-wide event where everyone in town would gather to help cook the pig then enjoy the fruits of their labor together. He extols the virtues of single-pot meals, which have for thousands of years utilized inexpensive ingredients to create a meal that’s shared by the entire family. My favorite part of the book is the section on bread. Bread so unites us as a people that the breaking of bread has become synonymous with sharing fellowship.
With the advent of microwaves and fast food, we have drifted away from the kitchen. But the holidays are the one time a year when the traditions of eating and enjoying food together are still revered. So it goes in my family.
Every year, starting around Thanksgiving, my mom creates cute little gift baskets filled with goodies for all our friends and extended family. For us, the smell of baking banana bread, my dad yelling at our dog to stop trying to eat the fudge on the kitchen table, and the warmth of sugar cookies right out of the oven are as much a part of Christmas as Santa or gifts. My family gathered around eating everything before my mom has a chance to wrap it and put it in gift baskets says “Happy Holidays” to me like nothing else.