Monday, November 10, 2008

The 'variance' of holiday meals

I read a lot, and throughout my reading, I keep hearing about having mac and cheese for special dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas. That just blows my mind, because my Minnesota heritage doesn't acknowledge that at all. It sounds like instead of having breads in various forms like we do, other people view mac and cheese in that vein. I have come to the conclusion that it is a regional dish like having Brussels sprouts in casserole form (eastern coast) for the holiday meals. We don't have those either. For other meals, yes, but it isn't one of our mandatory dishes for the holidays.
Isn't this just too intriguing???
Our holidays have stuffing (with or without apples, nuts and our personal favourite- with smoked oysters and onions and celery), corn or corn pudding, green beans in a casserole or alone, squash with all its various additions such as brown sugar or marshmallows (we like it just plain with butter, salt and pepper), mashed potatoes, cranberries, relishes, crescent rolls, apple , mince or pumpkin pies.
A lot of us also have wild rice, either plain with butter, salt and pepper or paired with white rice in a creamed casserole dish.
Moms all around Minnesota always tried to get veggies in us with a salad, but most of us opted for just the celery sticks, carrot sticks and those most loved veggies, green olives. Black olives were tolerated for color contrast, but they didn't have the addictive saltiness of those lovely, pimientoed greens.

Of course the appetizer course always included herring, but my husband is Norwegian and can't stand those lovely pickled fish. I can and do. I'm not Norwegian...and of course, I love lutefisk, he doesn't. I 'fight' with his brother for a good chunk at dinner and my father-in-law just chuckles as he eats his portion. My sister-in-law makes it but refuses to eat it.
I came upon lutefisk late in life, around fifteen or so years ago, and have loved it ever since. I don't have it every holiday, but as often as I can. I even go to one of our local restaurants to have it...alone. It is a staple for our area's Scandanavian heritage to have various churches in our town to make and serve lutefisk dinners for the holidays. Haven't gone there as the restaurant in town serves an enormous plate of it to you.
But making mac and cheese, God's gift to us, our most loving comfort food, a specialty item on a holiday table has me just bamboozled to say the least.

But hey, I'm willing to join the bandwagon.

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