Nearly every holiday is associated with one or more foods traditionally served during the celebration. We have grilled hamburgers and hotdogs on the Fourth of July, Halloween candy, and perhaps the most prominent of all: turkey on Thanksgiving. For years now I’ve been lobbying for Tandoori chicken with curried rice to become the traditional meal of Columbus Day in honor of his intended destination, but with minimal success (please, write your Congressman). Yes, I’m a big fan of all these traditional festive feasts, with one exception. Culinarily speaking, I hate Christmas. Call me a Gourmet Grinch or the Scrooge of Seasonal Sustenance, but I just do not like any of the food and drinks that are unique to Christmas.
Let’s start with fruitcakes. Fruitcakes have a few things going against them in my book. The first strike is the cherries. I don’t like ‘em, most fruitcakes’ve got ‘em. Plus, they usually use a combination of red and green color cherries which makes the cake look like its trying too hard to be festive. You’re a Christmas staple fruitcake, you’re not going anywhere. Stop looking so desperate to fit in, it’s sad. Strike two: über sticky candied fruit. If a fruitcake doesn’t have cherries, then it’s brimming with candied dried fruit (and a lot of times it’s got both). Dried fruit has a concentrated sweetness to it already, but when you amplify it with a sugar infusion it doesn’t even taste like fruit anymore. It just has the taste and mouthfeel of a giant, sloppy, homemade jelly bean. Also, I have a thing against foods that stick to my teeth like Gorilla Glue. The nuts are strike three. I am not a fan of nuts incorporated into baked goods. I admit, it’s odd, because I enjoy dried nuts by themselves and I love peanut butter-anything. But put walnuts on a cookie and I would no longer care to eat that cookie. And of course fruitcakes generally have a ton of nuts. “Nutty as a fruitcake” didn’t become a widely used idiom for nothing. That’s three strikes, fruitcake. You are out.
While we’re talking about fruit, let’s move on to cranberry sauce. First of all, I don’t like cranberries. I find the taste of cranberry overtly astringent, a quality which allows it to help ward off urinary tract infections and gives it a tartness potent enough to make my entire alimentary canal pucker, all the way from lips to bunghole. The biggest turn off though is the dark purple, gelatinous, can shaped formulation. It’s ribbed for the pleasure of no one. It looks so utilitarian, like food rations served in the military or in prison. Or like some kind of futuristic space fruit you’d find growing from trees on an alien planet where it’s harvested by the native humanoid species to be melted down and used as an industrial strength epoxy for building their robot butlers which are always falling apart because canned cranberry sauce is a terrible choice for an adhesive. Stupid aliens.
And don’t get me started on egg nog.
Hot apple cider, mincemeat pie, plum pudding, spiced wine… I detest them, every one. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. And I really like all of the Christmas twists on regular food like Christmas Tree shapes, red and green icings, and peppermint flavored everything. It’s just the foods you can only get this time of year that I find so reprehensible. So don’t worry about me, I’ve got plenty of holiday themed foods I can choose from to over eat for self-treating my Holiday Seasonal Depressive Disoder. Yup, I’ll be just fine.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a great meal!