By Donna Westfall – December 25, 2020
While the wind is gusting, and the rain pouring this Christmas day, indoors our hoe smells wonderful. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My mother was a great cook. I don’t recall ever having a dried or tasteless turkey in all the years she prepared them. The one thing she never prepared was ham.
During the 1960’s my boyfriend at the time and I joined some friends to play cards, go to the beach, the movies, and work on and talk about cars. One friend used to invite us over to enjoy a meal with him and his parents. His dad as I recall was an earlier version of Harvey Weinstein but not as gross, in the movie business, and a gracious host. His mom, for the most part looked the other way because he was also devoted to her. She was a great cook and excellent seamstress and spent countless hours teaching me the ways of sewing garments she had learned in Europe. She loved her husband and kids. I was crazy about the whole family.
I don’t remember if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas. Everything smelled so good in their house. The aromas of coffee blended perfectly with Baklava, and all kinds of things that meant feast in the greatest sense of the word. The house was warm and cozy which is not difficult when living in Los Angeles. All the food was spread across the table and then, the turkey was due to come out of the oven. We all waited with anticipation.
She went to the oven. She pulled out the rack. Lo and behold. The turkey was RAW. She forgot to cook the turkey!
The moral of this story?
ALWAYS cook your turkey the day before. You can slice it up. You can put it in a pan covered with tin foil and keep it warm and not dried out if you keep it at 200 degrees before serving. This has worked for me for years.
What else can you serve? HAM.
What about vegetarians? There’s cauliflower that can be prepared umpteen different ways, creamed spinach, corn casserole, candied yams, cranberry sauce, vegetable stuffing with nuts, latkes, salads, rice dishes, cheese trays, vegetable lasagna and vegetable gravy.
Now that dinner is over, all agreed that that was the best flavored turkey they can ever remember having.
While we remember our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, during this Christmas Season just remember one thing. Jesus was Jewish. Jewish people love to cook good food and love to eat. Let’s all be grateful and thankful for good friends and family and good neighbors and good food.
And a special Christmas greeting to our grandchildren: Daniel, Dylan, Elijah, Ethan, Gwynn, Heather, Heidi, Julian, Michael, Rowan, Shannon and Siobhan. Hugs to you wish we could be with you all.
For all our Jewish family, friends and neighbors, hope you had a Happy Hanukkah. For all our Christian neighbors, Merry Christmas. For everyone else, hope you enjoy this winter season.