The ads have been nonstop for getting your holiday shopping done, online or otherwise, since the last drop of gravy was dabbed from our respective mouths on Thanksgiving Day.
But, the grocery stores dropped the ball.
Why? They should have reminded us to stock up on our favorite food fixin’s, so our holiday dinner would be complete. During the past week I heard there is a shortage of eggnog and Reddi Wip canned whipped cream. No eggnog at the holidays? Or, no crowning your hot chocolate or mince pie with a perfect curlicue of sweet whipped cream on top?
If you hadn’t heard, leading manufacturers of eggnog underestimated its popularity this year. Apparently, sales for eggnog have increased 65% as people quickly abandoned their various pumpkin-spiced beverages after Thanksgiving, opting instead for that sweet and aromatic goodness of this creamy drink. Not only do people love this lip-smacking beverage, but, apparently it has become a go-to ingredient for baking as well. So, hopefully, you laid in your personal supply early, or you’ll be making your own.
Growing up, I can remember my mom making me eggnog, but it was not as rich and decadent as today’s creamy or custard-style varieties. I remember watching her crack a couple of eggs into a bowl, add milk, a splash of vanilla, and a dash of spices, then she’d dip that old rotary beater into the bowl and crank away. Soon, she would slide a glass of that frothy treat across the countertop toward me. Yum!
I was also surprised to learn that the canned whipped-cream topping was missing from grocers’ refrigerated cases because of the nitrous oxide explosion at a plant in Florida earlier this year. Not only is canned whipped cream difficult to find these days, but dentists are finding their stock of “laughing gas” in short supply as well. Yikes!
In the end, it doesn’t matter what food or beverages grace your holiday table, because it is all about the family and friends with whom you are lucky enough to be breaking bread with. Hopefully, it is just one or two items missing from your traditional fare at the 2016 holiday table, and not a treasured family member, or lifelong friend.
Back in the Summer of 1972 I had my tonsils taken out, but the surgeon did not remove the “root” of one tonsil. So, after fifteen years of enduring endless bouts of strep throat and colds, I consulted with a new ENT doc, and was told to get my tonsils out ASAP. He advised that the older you are, the more difficult the procedure and the longer the recovery time. So, I used accumulated sick bank time to be off work the tail end of the year. Just three days before Christmas, I had a quickie mini-tonsillectomy. While the procedure only lasted a few minutes – one little snip – it left me dealing with a diet of gelatin and ice-cream for nearly a week thereafter. My mom joked that she received a reprieve from her usual holiday cooking duties, and, to be a good sport, she joined me for a Christmas “dinner” of red and green Jell-O, adorned with whipped cream. (She did cheat and have some soup and a sandwich for lunch, which I sniffed appreciatively, but couldn’t even take a bite.)
So, remembering that Christmas Day 1987, here is my mom, posing by the near-empty dinner table, save for the get-well arrangement I received from work, plus two heaping dessert bowls that were out of range of the camera.
So, for us, the fare was forsaken, but family was foremost.
I hope dear readers that your Christmas is a memorable one, filled with family, fun, and, yes, good food too, because:
“Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.” ~ Gladys Taber
Merry Christmas everyone.