A marathon of cooking
Well it’s been an interesting few days. Since I don’t get to have a traditional holiday experience (due to COVID), like most people I know, I opted to make enough food to feed a small army so I could share some with basically everyone in a safer manner than having one big celebration. Over the past two days I’ve spent a total of 18 hours in the kitchen, but who’s counting? Me, I’m counting.
You ever have a great idea and realize about half way through the idea wasn’t so great after all? I guess that wasn’t exactly what I was feeling yesterday, but it was pretty close. I realized about half way through the second day that I created a whole lot of work for myself for no real reason. I mean I appreciate the people I work with and my friends, but no one was expecting me to do a whole lot for them for the holidays.
Maybe it’s because I really just wanted to take my mind of the whole COVID situation. Yeah, that’s probably it. In any case, I took the normal amount of holiday cooking I do and almost doubled it for some reason. It’s not that I expect to be giving out twice as much either, but it just felt like the thing to do. In the end I had a comically large spread of food, even if I had a larger group over there would be quite a bit of leftovers.
In the end I made 50+ tamales, a large quantity of spanish rice, three trays of enchiladas, and five pounds of chorizo and onion potatoes. Of which I consumed roughly 0.001% of it for dinner yesterday to celebrate finishing and now I feel like I could sleep for a week. So instead of sharing my recipes (which I tried to write the salted caramel apple empanada recipe down as I was going by actually measuring this time, so I WILL be sharing finally), I figure I can share some of the highlights of the past few days. Unfortunately the “final” photo I took doesn’t include one of the trays of enchiladas since they were still in the oven when I took this photo, but you get the idea.
I’m not one to share food photos, but since I’ll be sharing the empanada recipe and this was a lot of work I figure I can break that rule (even though it’s not a rule). Plus it’s good for a laugh since it’s a lot of food.
This was basically day one. I also made a whole thing of chicken for the enchiladas, but apparently didn’t bother taking a photo (I mean who needs to see a big pot of meat anyway? You get the idea.
Even though 90% of this is going out to friends/co-workers (which at my age friends and co-workers are basically the same thing), I’m going to have enough leftovers for the next week or so. Maybe longer depending on how many tamales I want to keep. The nice thing about tamales is they freeze well so you can freeze a batch, thaw, eat, and never know they were frozen.
In any case, this will (probably) be the first and last time I attempt something like this. I feel like I ran a marathon contained in the kitchen, or maybe it was the iron…pan (bad pun I know).
So I guess the question I keep coming back to is, why did I do all this? After some thought and writing this I think the answer is simple. The holidays don’t feel very magical when people are dying and the world is hurting (plus we have a rather large and extremely vocal subset of people who are okay with all of this or actively supporting/denying/encouraging/etc. people dying from COVID and it makes my heart hurt).
Some of my best holiday memories aren’t about the people, because by birth family were awful, abusive, horrible examples of human beings. My best holiday memories were the foods that I only ever got around the holidays. So this is my small, but mighty, attempt to spread some holiday magic even though the world is on fire and everything certainly isn’t okay. Because when my friends look back on these days in the distant future I want them to remember the people we lost, but also the experiences and food we got to share, even if we couldn’t be together.
In short, sometimes you have to make the magic yourself. It turns out, that can take a bit of work.