Does it seem like a hectic pace has become as much a part of your holiday season as gift-wrap and twinkling lights? Many of us feel stressed and hurried at a time of year when we should – in theory – be enjoying ourselves and spending time with those we love. We crave the simpler, slower holiday seasons we recall from childhood, when Mom and Grandma both entertained with style, grace and good food.
It is possible to recapture some of that simple, happy holiday spirit. Meals that feature timeless traditional foods like classic fruitcake, peppermint chocolate bark and spiral sliced ham not only bring loved ones together, they can evoke the spirit of a less harried era.
Fortunately, you don’t have to unearth Grandma’s handwritten cookbook or rely on Mom’s memory to create nostalgic meals this holiday season. You can find many favorite holiday foods available online, already prepared, and even packaged to send as gifts. The nosh nostalgic experts at Swiss Colony offer some suggestions for classic, scrumptious holiday fare:
- Fruitcake – No matter how many jokes circulate about it, or how many people avow they won’t eat it, fruitcake remains a holiday favorite. The dense, rich cake, jewel-toned candied fruit, crunchy nuts and lush aroma of this seasonal treat stimulate multiple senses. Whether you opt for a traditional round, loaf or ring-shaped fruitcake, or opt for a fresh twist such as fruitcake cookies, few foods say “holiday season” as clearly, or sweetly, as fruitcake.
- Red velvet cake – Made famous some 80 years ago at New York’s iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel, red velvet cake captures the holiday season’s dramatic aspects with its Santa suit red color, tangy cream cheese frosting and luxurious chocolate flavor. While the traditional multi-layered cake will never lose appeal, this year experiment with different ways to enjoy red velvet cake, such as petit fours or even cupcakes.
- Spiral sliced ham – When it comes to holiday main dishes, the spiral sliced ham vies with turkey and goose for dominance in Americans’ hearts – and on their dinner plates. Many a holiday host of yesteryear slaved for hours to produce the perfect marriage of succulent meat and just-sweet-enough honey glaze. Fortunately, today’s hosts can serve their guests all the indulgence with just a fraction of the work; it’s easy to find fully cooked hams both in stores and online.
- Cheese logs – Eating treats you normally wouldn’t have in your pantry at other times of the year is one of the great delights of the season, and the cheese log is among the most delightful of holiday snacks. Nearly everyone loves some form of cheese, even picky toddlers. Whether you opt for classic cheddar, indulgent port wine or tangy Swiss, a cheese log served with crackers is the essential holiday appetizer.
- Peppermint chocolate bark – The name of the inspired genius who first combined peppermint and chocolate is likely lost to the ages, but the blend of flavors created by the marriage is timeless. Peppermint chocolate bark is even more appropriate for the holidays because it captures the essence of holiday candy canes.
If you’re craving a calm, classic Christmas, it may be time to “nosh nostalgic.” You can find more classic holiday foods and gift ideas at www.SwissColony.com.