I have a rather strict “no Christmas until after Thanksgiving” rule. I take open offense at stores which start trying to hawk their Christmas wares before I’ve gotten my first bite of turkey (a losing battle, I know) and I’m downright grinchy if anyone tries to ask if I’ve started my Christmas shopping before the calendar flips to December. My personal view is that Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day is a sign of the apocalypse, and that Black Friday may well prove to be humanity’s downfall, but now I’m just getting morose, so I’ll move on.
After all of that you’re probably thinking that I’m worse than the Grinch, but the truth is that I still truly enjoy Christmas, in its natural time and place, which is December! I love decorating the tree, I love baking cookies, I love watching the same movies year after year, I love finding the perfect gift for a loved one and picking out pretty paper to wrap it in, and I love my first trip to the Christmas market for a warming mug of glühwein. The Christmas markets are truly one of the great advantages of living in Germany and I know that I’d miss them like crazy if I ever moved away. Every decent sized town and city has its own market, a collection of assorted wooden stands selling glühwein (warmed mulled wine) with or without a shot of something stronger, kinderpunsch (non-alcoholic version), roasted chestnuts in paper cones, food, food, so much food, Christmas decorations (some beautifully handcrafted, some… less so), and more. The Frankfurt Christmas market is huge and spans several market places and the connecting city blocks, but the oldest and most beautiful part of the market is just a 5 minute walk from my flat and therefore we tend to visit at least a few times each holiday season. Even when it’s freezing cold outside, a steaming mug of glühwein with a shot of rum (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it) goes a long way towards keeping you warm and toasty.
We’ll be visiting one last time this weekend and then flying to the States before we get another change! In the midst of all the pomp, pageantry, and preparations of the past few weeks, I somehow managed to knock out all of the December recipes, so now let’s see if I can keep up with posting them. So far, so good. This week’s recipe, Lamb & Apricot Tagine, is probably my husband’s favorite of the month. I think he’s enjoyed most of Dorie’s stews and would be hard pressed to name a favorite. This one was a heady mix of sweet apricots and savory spices and the smell while cooking was almost, dare I say it, christmasy:-)