Every year my husband and I ask one another: Is there something you need or want for Christmas?
And every year the answer seems to be: Need? No. Want? Hmmm.
That’s the thing, right? What do most of us need?
I’m a middle class gal who’s been blessed by good fortune, health and the absence of real need. Who loves and eats well every single day.
Like last night’s dinner: a Poke-Palooza.
So instead of asking for a lot of new clothes (which I don’t need) or jewelry (I mostly just wear my favorite pieces every day), I just ask for little luxuries and cooking inspiration.
I received a number of wonderful new cookbooks, including this lovely from my sister, Polly.
It’s a beaut.
I’ve been invited to a cookbook club by my friend Rebecca Ringquist — and this book will be profiled first.
I can’t wait to dig into this book and try out some of the recipes because I think Deb Perlman is incapable of creating an unsatisfying, unsuccessful recipe.
Here’s another book I found under the tree.
I bought it for myself at a signing in December; soups are one of my favorite things to make and the fact that Ms. Manning pairs each recipe with a quick bread suggestion intrigued me.
I got this from my dear friend Melinda in San Francisco.
And there was one last cookbook under my tree.
My mother-in-law bought me an Insta-pot recently and when I asked pal Danielle Centoni about it, she recommended the above book as a great starter.
(Shall I post a recipe using both the pot and this cookbook soon?)
And there were lots of edible luxuries in stockings and dropped off by pals.
My girlfriend Gillian knows that I love a great cocktail so she brought me this fun kit.
I LOVE bitters — especially with a bracing bourbon drink.
And treats for lazy mornings.
This is a local brand of cocoa
and a couple times I made a peppermint mocha for myself and straight up cocoa for the kidlets.
I usually use skim milk for lattes around here but I noticed that swapping out whole milk for hot chocolate really makes a huge difference in taste– it’s like the cocoa powder needs a more substantial raft to carry that deep chocolatey flavor.
And a couple last treats awaited me.
I received a giant jar of Marcona almonds.
These might be my favorite nut and having over a pound to play around with (or nibble furtively) is pure gold.
I also got these: truffle salt and a lemon-like flake salt.
I think the truffle salt is a new offering from Trader Joe’s and this citron salt from a shop in Cambridge is a stunner.
And what’s better than Fran’s?
(Answer: not much.)
I loved the time we visited this Seattle chocolatier and every single item they make is extraordinary.
What did you get or do this holiday that you’re most excited about?
Here’s one last thought before we part in advance of the New Year.
In these turbulent times, resolve to make one meh thing near you better.
If it’s a friend having a tough time, drop them off some flowers soon.
If it’s a corner of your house that could use a little love, give it freely.
Or if one of your dearest friends is feeling sad about having to look out at her Honey Bucket Port-a-Potty every day during the holiday because of a contractor error, change the narrative for her, so that every time she looks out her kitchen window, she doesn’t see an ugly outdoor toilet but rather a Swedish cottage.
I got my kids and a friend together, a bunch of holiday items from my house, and we transformed this ugliness into something cute and festive while she was out doing errands.
So instead of a blight, my neighbor has a reminder of how much her neighbors love her.
So a big thanks to my Mom and Fritz for spending the holidays with us (we were having too much fun to take many pics!) and a very Happy New Years to all of you. Be safe.