If you’ve dared venture into the supermarket you can sense the siege mentality as people stock up like they’re getting ready for another Hundred Years War. To-do lists spawn secondary to-do lists and scribbled notes get shoved in coat pockets as we try to remember if we were supposed to pick up single cream, heavy, double, whipped or some other milk-based product.
At moments like this it’s important to breathe and remember if all else fails you can probably find a gas station open on Christmas Day selling microwave bean burritos. Okay, it’s not much consolation but it’s something. So, for what’s it’s worth, here are some tips/suggestion/ideas to help you navigate the holidays.
- Eat more chile. Not just because it tastes great (natch) but because chile is said to help your body fight colds and let’s be honest – ‘tis the season. It’s also a great source of vitamin C.
- If you’re cooking a turkey, consider a chile spice rub. Ease the skin away from the meat (gently so it doesn’t tear) and rub in a mix of chile powder, salt and softened butter. Ease the skin back and rub a bit more butter on top. If you can, do this the night before so it has a chance to soak up all that chile goodness. Yum.
- Cranberries. Have you noticed how you make them and then – surprise – no one eats them. This year, place the whole berries with the zest and juice of an orange with a whole dried chile and sugar to taste. Cook until the berries start to burst. Remove from the heat and puree the chile (with or without seeds) with some of the berries then add back to the rest of the berries and stir. Very good and very spicy.
- Remember the chile cornbread stuffing from Thanksgiving? It tastes just as good at Christmas.
- Chile Bloody Marys are an important tool to help you put up with your in-laws. Think of them as medicine.
- Avoid wearing Christmas sweaters. This has nothing to do with chile but it will prevent someone publishing embarrassing photos of you on Facebook.
So get going. It’s time to celebrate. See you in 2014.