04 February 2010

Food Calendar

I'm not the first person to think about this (surely), but every January (or in this case early February), I wonder about how we cook our way through a year. It all starts on New Year's Day - with traditional food that brings good luck - here it is collards and black-eyed peas. I'm sure there is some historical meaning, I think if I remember correctly, the collards are supposed to represent money. In FIL's culture is was sauerkraut, which I like, but never heard of until we started hanging out w/the parents for New Year's Day. 
Next up... Super Bowl in late January or in this case early February. It's an evening of overdoing, snack food, hopefully good commercials, not any football (who cares), a joke of a half time show, and swilling beer  responsible drinking (and hopefully good commercials!!). I enjoy this one a great deal because I really like making appetizers for dinner or for anything really.
 Then the magazines/websites turn to Valentine's Day - make your lover something lovely ... or something equally hokey. That's one I skip because I'm not much into greeting card created holidays. I expect to be loved everyday even though I may not deserve it :). 
Speeding on from V-Day is something, I think that's depending on where you live. Here in the Gulf Coast Mardi Gras is a big (BIG!) deal. New Orleans is surely what's most thought of, but it's huge in Mobile and Pensacola too (Krewe de la stupid people who like to dress up and act stupid? nope, the name is too long...). Not being from here it seems a little cheesy thing and I'm not sure it's a food holiday when drinking and throwing moon pies are key activities*. So officially, the next food holiday is also not much of a food holiday, though I treat it as such is St. Patrick's Day**. mmmm Guinness brownies. 
Then we officially welcome spring with Easter - asparagus, eggs, all things springy, pastel, small lambs, bunnies, and baby chicks (though we eat their brethern). 
What's next... of course it's College Graduation Parties (yeah) and quickly into Memorial Day and bringing out the grill... it's the official start of summer. Get the grill out add steak, burgers, dogs, or chicken and have a picnic w/ potato salad and chips and dip and get in the pool. Hell, we've been in the pool more than a month by then... and we know what's coming next... start of the season. ugh.*** High School graduations are next and largely and rightly looked over by those it does not apply to... I mean what is graduation food - everyone goes out to eat anway. 
The big show of the summer is 4th of July. Spend time w/your grill in the middle of the friggin hot, humid backyard, being eaten by mosquitoes. But we do it anyway because, by god!, it's a tradition - I'm sure Patton would make a good speech about it... I can almost hear it (not quite because I'm not crazy la la). Blue Angels weekend quickly follows on the beach - sand, noise, heat, I'll stick to the end of year show on the base.  4th of July will be bittersweet this year.
August is the cruelest month. Labor Day marks the beginning of fall or in our case part-way through the season. It's an extra day off so cooking is always a good thing, but to be honest the grilling experience is largely the same as it is at 4th of July - there's not a hint of fall anywhere and the mosquitoes are usually worse. So full on fall kicks in whether the weater cooperates or not.
And on to...Halloween with all the gross stuff that comes with it - coffin-shapped cookies, eyeballs, blech. That said, soup recipes appear even if the fall weater still doens't. And now it rush rush rush to the end of the year w/more cooking, baking and candy making. 
All this crammed into a still warm month listening (Way. To. Early) to Christmas carols. Thanksgiving - American approved gulttony just preceeded by the release of the beaujolis nouveau (if you're a fan). Thanksgiving is fun, but not for the novice - you're asked to balance several skills and it's the one time of year that two ovens would help. So ... you need a turkey and dressing and cranberry something - these are required - then sides... and starters and which beer/wine to drink and new table linens and in my cases coordinating glass wear and flowers for the table and buffet and and and ....
Finally, it's December and it's cookie swaps and parties. Plus Christmas eve - which for me is appetizer buffet and Christmas day dinner - another turkey - perhaps, or ham or some large joint of meat appropriately cooked and whatever sides you thought about making for Thanksgiving but ran out of time and said screw it. You now have one week to get your New Year's Eve party planning - elegant, sophisticated New Year's Eve... champagne is de rigeur of course - or beer in my case (hey - it's bubbly and can be pour into cute little glasses).

And that's a wrap ... whew. I'm tired and it's only early February...

* If this doesn't make sense, you don't want to know.
** It's important for other reasons known only to two.
*** If you have to ask, you're not from 'round here.

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