Going home for the holidays is always interesting. Since I have launched my business, friends and family have requested repeats of dishes I cooked years ago. For example, when I went home a few weeks ago I was instructed that the Lewis's Annual Christmas Brunch, eaten after all the gifts have been opened must include pumpkin bread, a Dutch Apple Baby, and maple/aguave syrup or I was uninvited this year.
Let me rewind so and give you a brief history of the Annual Christmas Brunch. A few years ago, I made Christmas Brunch for the first time. I was a graduate student and money was low but I wanted to give a gift that everyone would enjoy and hold in their memories. I decided to prepare a simple yet tasty brunch of homemade pancakes, turkey bacon, grits, biscuits, and eggs (yes my family are Southerns.) After everyone finished eating they raved about the meal and voted that Christmas Brunch would become a new family tradition. Of course, they interjected that I must be the head cook. Each year since, I have added a new dish and released a old family favorite to greener pastures. While preparing brunch, family members are routinely and repeatedily shooed out of the kitchen, hands are swatted when they try to steal a taste, or I am talked in to employing a sous cook.
After all the dishes are finished, I carry each one to the table so it can be properly introduced. My family exclaim ohhs and ahhs while waiting for the last dish to be placed on the table. We give thanks for another year together then dig into the food. I play the role of server and ensure everyone has what they need. Glasses and coffee cups are refilled, emptied dishes are replaced with hot food, and we recount the good things which have happened over the course of the year.
As Christmas comes and goes, Christmas Brunch will be a family tradition passed along to the next generation along with other family traditions. So, this Christmas when I sneak in a new healthier dish, I hope my family will know each bite contains my and my sous cook's love.