Thinking about getting back to basics for holiday parties? Consider what our pioneer ancestors had available to them. These days there’s not many kinds of food we couldn’t eat any day of the year, if we wanted it. Not so back then. Spices were expensive and difficult to come by, so fancy cookies and cakes weren’t every day food.
Doing some baking?
When planning out your sweet treats, bake them yourself if possible. At the most basic, avoid artificial food coloring and pre-packaged mixes. Use real ingredients, local and/or organic if possible. For me, some local ingredients include flour, eggs, honey, hazelnuts, walnuts, apples, pears, and pumpkins. Look for a recipe that showcases some of your local ingredients!
If you’re not into doing your own baking, perhaps you can pick some up from bake sales at a local farmers’ market or craft faire. Support your baking neighbors!
Throwing a party?
Anything you can serve that features foods from your area? We’ll be having a fondue one evening over the holidays. Quite a bit of our food for this can come from local sources, from beef and chicken to the cheese for a cheesy fondue, to homemade sourdough to dip in it. We’ll use organic, fair-trade chocolate to fix the dessert course, with local fruit included in the dippers.
Traditionally we have an appetizer evening with my side of the family. One mostly local hors d’oeuvre I’ll be fixing for that is sausage rolls with our venison pepperoni. Then there’s honey garlic chicken wings. Mmm!
Any local juices or wines you can serve for your party? We’ll be having a cherry apple punch, with juices we made ourselves. Also on the menu may be our own rhubarb mead, but there are several wineries in our region that create some great drinks.
Hosting Christmas Dinner?
What’s traditional for your family? If it’s turkey, consider ordering a free-range bird. Sure, it’ll cost more, but the flavor is incomparable, and there’s nothing to regret about how the bird was raised. Same goes for a ham straight from a local farm or butcher.
Round out your meal with foods from as near home as possible. In every case, choose real food every time you’re faced with a decision. Lettuce from a nearby greenhouse. Potatoes from your province or state. Vegetables native to your area. We’ll be including an apple salad with our turkey dinner. Like cranberries? Buy a package of fresh instead of canned. It only takes a few minutes to add honey and cook them into the right consistency, and the flavor is far superior.
Keeping a green mind with your holiday cooking and baking is the same as any time of the year. What better gift for your family than health from whole, real food prepared with love?
But take it one step further. No matter where you live, there are people less fortunate than you are. Some may even be spending the Christmas season hungry. Donate to your food bank, serve in your community soup kitchen, or invite someone into your home. Share the blessings God has given to you.