Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wining through the holidays...Christmas...

Christmas is always a bit problematic for me. For one thing, I'm Jewish, so the whole religious aspect is kind of lost on me. On the other hand, JD is not Jewish, so every year I ask him if he wants to decorate the house for the holidays, and every year, I get the 'look', so it's never necessary to do anything but display the holiday cards.

However, December 25th is my sister's birthday, and she LOVES everything about Christmas. Every year she decorates the whole house - multiple beautifully decorated trees, every David Winter cottage ever made, plus other cute cottage and village collections, plus, plus, plus. It's an ocean of cuteness.

Oh, and the Christmas/Birthday party. It used to be huge; my sis would invite every person she knew - family, friends, business associates. Most of Los Angeles, I think. As the years have gone by, the party has gotten smaller; now it's mainly family. And the family has gotten smaller, too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wining through the holidays – Hanukkah…

Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah.
Let's have a party, we'll all dance the horah.
Gather 'round the table, we'll give you a treat.
Dreidels to play with and latkes to eat.

And while we are playing, the candles are burning low.
One for each night, they shed a sweet light, to remind us of days long ago.
One for each night, they shed a sweet light, to remind us of days long ago.
-      Traditional lyrics

When I was growing up, celebrating Hanukkah, the Festival of the Lights, was fairly traditional. The family gathered for dinner – beef brisket accompanied by white potatoes and carrots, green beans, sesame seed rolls, lukshen (noodle) kugel, and, of course, latkes – potato pancakes – grated, oniony, fried pieces of heavenly goodness with a dollop of sour cream. It was a feast to celebrate the miracle of the oil; the small amount of lamp oil that lasted for eight nights after the Maccabees defeated the Seleucid Greeks. It wasn’t fancy or gourmet; it was comfort food.

Before dinner, the adults would sip cocktails and nosh on chopped chicken or beef liver and crackers. At the dinner table, we mostly drank water or soda, because my folks weren’t big drinkers, and they weren’t wine drinkers. If wine was needed for a barucha (blessing), there was Manischewitz Concord Grape. Insert shudder here.