For Thanksgiving we had a brined turkey that was so tender it literally fell right off the bone. And it made the darkest juices for an especially rich gravy.
For Christmas we had a ham that was hand-picked by our local grocer and cooked to the specifications of Cook's Illustrated magazine "Holiday Ham 101" article (Nov./Dec. 2007). The results were worth the little bit of extra work required for keeping the big ham moist. Delicious.
Family gift giving involved lots of food, naturally. My brother from Maine sent a beautiful wheel of homemade cheese along with other goodies, including sweetly aromatic raw honey from their apiary.
My other brother provided us with a host of New York City delicacies in a go green reusable shopping bag. The Italian dry salami didn't last long in this house.
My father made creamy mints for everyone harkening back to the days we would visit his uncle's candy store in Modesto, California. It doesn't matter how young you are when it comes to remembering a candy store. Those memories are well ingrained. And we're looking forward to using the gift certificate we received from my parents to the country farm market up their way. Locally grown produce and an endless variety of specialty foods.
As usual, the desserts we had for the holiday were plentiful. Raspberry trifle, chocolate fondue and lots of cookies. Suffice it to say, no one went away hungry.
So that leaves for today, after existing on ham since the 25th, the making of a fine ham split pea soup. I found a great recipe online that uses lots of ham: Hordes of Ham Split Pea Soup http://timeinthekitchen.com/2008/12/hordes-of-ham-split-pea-soup/
Even after all the food, all the eating, all the ham, I'm still looking forward to a hot bowl of soup using fresh thyme from the cold frame and dried bay leaves off my bay plant. Because just as with family and food, it wouldn't be the holidays without great meals made from leftovers.