Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Hangouts (or is it Hang "ups"?)

here's the deal, it's the holidays. and, to be quite honest with you, i'm a little stressed about them. food plays a huge part in the holidays for us as well as many of the folks out there and i've been sitting around my house, coming up with schemes to make it work for us in these "tough economic times", just felt like channeling NPR for a sec., sorry. anyway, i've been coming up with things that will be yum and not feel like they're low rent in anyway.

but, beyond that, there is this extraordinary feeling of warmth for those around me who have been my friends and support. i will admit that i have yet to embrace the midwest. and i don't mean in an idealistic way, but a genuine "where's a cute bistro?" way. i don't know where anything is besides the places i've met friends in the past and part of me feels like it's my way of maintaining my "L.A. STATE OF MIND" to revise a tad Billy Joel's song.

my friends, as i've said before, are true and wonderful and i've been lucky enough to cultivate some pretty awesome male friendage that makes me smile daily even when i think i won't. i'm far away from home, so i appreciate the friendships i've developed. and, in that, comes this desire to feed my male friends at a feast meant expressly for them -- l.a. based and beyond -- cuz, truth be told, i'm more of a "guy hang out" chick than a "female bonding" babe. and don't get all up in arms about the labels i'm putting on myself. it's me, true and simple. sometimes i'm a dame, a vamp, a bitch, a lady, a girl and on and on. aren't we all? and, if we aren't than i'm alone in this and that's cool. really.
but, i digress...

and, so, holidays have a certain sort of caste to them at the moment, and, yet, i'm looking forward to them. my sons are such extraordinary little souls of wild imagination, it's cool. they roll with me however i am and love me no matter what. i actually know that and it makes me want to cook for them, show them my love through sustenance. is that crazy? and it's the thing i like to do for my male friends when i want to show them how cool they are to me. i like to cook, i think i do okay at it and if it brings joy, so be it.

like, today. i had made this carrot cake my pals like. i did it for a specific reason and it worked out well. my friends ate it and felt yummy and that's what i want. i want to make other people feel like superstars through my food. wouldn't that be cool? to make someone you care about feel like they truly matter because you put such love into something you did for them?

i'm not talking about being in love, i'm talking about just love in the abstract and in the personal without the physically intimate. cooking does that to me. it makes me feel like what i'm doing is creating amazing emotions through food. which brings us back to holidays. they may seem amazingly manufactured to others, but to me? i just overlook the commercialism, give it a wide berth and give in to it in a way that works for me. i feel like they are these ultimate excuses to indulge and give of yourself TO yourself and others. i like that and stress it. i wish i could make the time as carefree as i recall it being for myself as a kid and i hope i will one of these days. i just know how the shit is these days and wonder if i'm capable of it.

for me, through food, i can.
a great homemade spiced cranberry sauce with orange zest.
a beloved christmas goose in our honey lime ginger glaze.
a cookie baking session that lends itself to true collaboration and creation.

ah, the holidays. yes, we're broke, it's true. i'm scraping by, like so many others, but we deserve a gift. a gift of us and the bounty, the food of love that defines us. i like christmas time, even though i haven't got any affiliation or commitment around it for myself, in particular. i grew up celebrating Hanukkah with friends and supporting my beloved sister-in-law's tradition more than my own. it's just how it laid out, truly. that's why, whenever we cook for Christmas, celebrate it, feel it, we make it something so vast in scope of diversity, even my darling sons can feel comfortable (which they do). even if all we can work up are some chicken nuggets, we can treat it as if it's foi gras and caviar. dress it up, make it look glamorous so we can dive in and feel special. it's that thing that makes me want to do something warm, fuzzy and totally not scary for my male friends. holidays, for me, are very male oriented -- hell, i have two sons, you figure it out -- and i like to do for my males what makes them smile. does that make me an anti-feminist? i don't think so. i think it makes me an independent female who digs guys a lot. and if you disagree, well, whatever. i'm cool with who i am, the food i prepare, the love i put into it.

nothing else matters this time of year, does it?
stay tuned for some holiday on a budget shtuff to save sanity. i hope.

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