Out of the chocks
The 100 yard holiday dash is on, and if one survives the trampling on Black Friday the next stop is the Island of Misfit Toys. Not fair really, just catch the breath from Thanksgiving and wham, here's yet another large dinner to prepare. Christmas is just far enough away that the leftovers from Thanksgiving won't quite make it and besides, gnawing a turkey carcass on Christmas Day doesn't scream host of the year. So while dragooning the kids to clean up the Turkey Day mess one should be mentally planning the next campaign or face the Ghost of Christmas unplanned
Look at T-Day as a dry run for Christmas, except without the turkey unless a big fan of the bird. Nothing wrong with that, but there are other possibilities to consider. There's Goose, hard to find and tends to be inordinately greasy, Duck works well, a little easier to find and a bit less oil. The fact duck appeared as “Chinese Turkey” on “Christmas Story” isn't a fluke. Pork and dead sheep are non-players for the most part, though a nice rack of baby-backs wouldn't break any hearts. This kind of leaves the world of beef.
A standing rib roast is just what the elves ordered. They are pricey, there's no doubt of that, but the flavor is great and the ribs make an excellent stew later in the month. The roast does well on the grill, picks up some nice smoke and the only seasoning required is some salt and pepper – near to bullet proof as one can get. Good accompaniments would be roast garlic mashed potatoes, a nice fresh salad, and Brussels sprouts (if not a sprout hater). If beef doesn't appeal, suffering PTS (Post Turkey Syndrome), or feeling sorry for Daffy always having his bill blown off by Elmer Fudd, there are still more options of an international flavor.
When in Arizona
This is the Southwest, after all so why not Tamales. That is the holiday food of choice in many households throughout the region and parts farther South. Even if back in the Great Frozen Nation, these plump little packets of goodness could brighten up any fiesta. Tradition has a slice of black olive in each tamale making it a bit more special then a pedestrian street tamale. The best part is all the camaraderie in building the tamales. It is a bit of a project, but if approached with an assembly-line attitude and lots of love and laughter the process is a breeze. It's isn't the food, it is the family.
No coincidence many holidays overlap this time of year. Most are fairly arbitrary as far as the dates so why not set the date the same as the competitor? Rumor has it Christmas was scheduled the same time as the pagan ceremonies going on at the time to help attract the pagans to the Catholic point of view (more extreme measures were employed farther on down the line). Whatever the legend or religion, yes the reason behind the holidays is important, no the food is not, but the main thing is that the holidays are a time for families to come together, laugh together, and love together. Whatever holiday observed its about family and thank which ever deity for that blessing.
Places to help relive the holiday stress:
17173 N. Litchfield Rd., Suite 30
Surprise, AZ 85374
6712 W. Bell Road
Glendale, AZ 85308