Another thing that's been bothering me lately is that many of the songs associated with Christmas are actually WINTER songs, and have nothing especially to do with Christmas. I wish these songs were played all winter long; maybe then we could collectively celebrate this wonderful season a bit more, instead of dreading it as soon as Christmas is over. I mean, winter's just started, for crying out loud - let's enjoy it. Let's single Jingle Bells, Sleigh Ride, Let It Snow, Winter Wonderland, and Baby, It's Cold Outside all winter long! Anybody with me here?
Anyway, for those of you who asked for my Eggnog Cheesecake recipe, here it is.
You'll notice I crossed out the shortbread cookies and toasted hazelnuts ingredients and replaced them with Pecan Sandies. I did this because I've never been able to find hazelnuts that weren't still in their shells, and I'm lazy. The Pecan Sandies work just fine. This year is actually the first time I've done the toasted hazelnuts because someone brought me a huge bag of shelled ones, and I'm telling you - it wasn't significantly better.
And just for the Postman, here is the Bourbon Fruitcake recipe, taken from Jeff Smith's wonderful book, "The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas." I know there's some scandal associated with Smith, but I still adore this book, and him. May he rest in peace. Whatever he did or didn't do is not for me to judge; but I can judge him by his writing, which in this book is quite inspired.
Don't forget that you can click on these photos to enlarge them if they're difficult to read.
Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes--
Some have gotten broken--and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week--
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted--quite unsuccessfully--
To love all our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers.
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed.
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility--once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep his word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off.
But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this.
To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever to pray to the Father;
"Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake."
They will come, all right, don't worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon;
When the Spirit must practise his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, that, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.
May you have a fruitful and joyous new year,
and in the words of Jeff Smith,
I bid you peace.