Holiday traditions often involve food. Tastes on our tongues serve as a mnemonic device. Memories form in our mouths before our minds, and then we are transported to holidays of past.
This year, as in years past (see my December 2011 post), I baked a cheesecake and a chocolate roll. This year, as in years past, I was ocularly addicted to the look of yellow yolks blending with black chocolate, and opaque whites whipped until stiff.
With the right light and wetness, all food can achieve the perfect holiday glisten. Having an annual baking tradition is just as much a blur as the blending of eggs. It's hard to discern yolk from chocolate after a while, and all the years of desserts blur together in one rich mouthful.
My Grandmother's chocolate roll brings back memories of a long drive on roads that are no longer called "country," cousins in velvet, coyotes, beef and cream, my first Christmas with Craig, the first Christmas I prepared duck, and the desire to make meringue mushrooms and always falling short.
My Step-dad's mom's cheesecake, a recent addition to the Holiday roster, reminds me of a New York I've never visited, Tom's stories of Germany, walking through a snowstorm on Christmas Eve to hunt down cream cheese with Jeremy, my last Christmas with Matilda, the word "mouthfeel," and family.
Here was the dessert table this Christmas Eve: Chocolate roll (top), Cheesecake (left), and Dave's famous berry pie with a crust that would make your grandmother wonder butter! And when we look back at photos, if it weren't for this blog, would I think it was the Christmas of 2012, or of 2005?
How do the holidays land on your tongue?