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If You Want It Delicious,
Make It Yourself

By Amanda Hesser

It's that time of year again. Time for eggnog poured from cartons. Cheese balls that seem transported straight out of a Cheever story. Gifts of fruitcake that are welcomed like the flu.

Between moments of holiday cheer, you may notice that none of these delights taste quite the way they did when you were young. There's a reason for that. It's because people now buy their holiday treats instead of making them, and what's out there to buy is far from delectable. Why else would there be a Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake?

No need to get gloomy. There's recourse. You can in fact make treats, as your parents or grandmother probably did, with your very own hands.

Except for bread, turducken and perhaps molded chocolates, a good argument can always be made for making holiday food from scratch. With these recipes, the argument is irrefutable. These are special dishes and a drink that you make just once a year. They are for gifts, parties and family gatherings — many of them tonight, tomorrow and over the weekend. Buying them only sends a message that you probably don't want to be sending.

This is especially true with eggnog, whose store-bought versions tend to be loaded with fake vanilla and guar gum, which gives it a less than desirable unctuousness. A healthy dose of bourbon can do a lot to anesthetize the taste buds, making the store-bought versions palatable. This strategy, however, doesn't bode well for pleasure. In the Middle Ages, people used heavy spices in a similar fashion, and none of the dishes from that period have lasted all that well. More ... Cooking Articles


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