SWOONIFY THE SEASON….
I absolutely swoon the holiday season.
Beyond cozy, indulgent food synonymous with festivities, the holidays also mean joyous family gatherings. From childhood and even into my adult years, these gatherings meant a bustling mix of immediate and extended family all hosted in my mother’s Long Island home, the very house I grew up in.
As a child I’d awaken to the aroma of a savory roast in the oven, and it put a smile on my face to know that my mother had risen at 6am to prep our feast of lasagna, meats, fish, stuffed mushrooms and plenty more holiday classics. The day always involved a classic Christmas movie on the TV, moving furniture and pushing tables together, breaking out Nona’s fine china, and finally, my aunts, uncles, and cousins galore would arrive around 1pm. I always felt a palpable pride in beautifying the house, and a sheer excitement of stuffing myself with far too much holiday food.
Two years ago mom sold my childhood home where I celebrated about 35 holiday dinners. It felt a bit wistful, but traditions must change, and this year marks my first year hosting the holidays in my home. My mom will pass the baton, teaching me how to make all of her tried-and-true classic dishes that my Nona taught her (she joked that I can swoonify and organi-cize her recipes). This year will be different indeed, as my brother and sister-in-law now live in Florida, so it will be just Victor, Jivan, my mom and myself at the holiday table—a huge contrast from my childhood memories of holiday dinners about 30 family members.