A Christmas Story (which is set in Northern Indiana, the elementary school looking uncannily similar to my brother's and mine) on the television. Tonight we had a little music party with old family friends; my parents made beef chalupa, I made pimento cheese and pie and homemade peppermint patties (gotta keep it alliterative), and we all chipped in on cheese and veggie plates.
But I haven't seen my grandmother yet. Tomorrow, though, for Christmas Eve, she'll come over with tins full of sugar cookies and pizzelles and speculaas, and probably try to clean the kitchen until we make her sit down on the couch and tell me stories about the Christmases of her childhood. A few weeks ago on NPR's Kitchen Window, I shared some stories of my hers and my own, of our Sinterklaas celebrations, a transplanted tradition from her Belgian and French heritage.
In the piece, you'll find recipes for the Belgian windmill cookies--speculaas (or speculoos)--that were ever-present in my grandmother's cookie jar, oliebollen-- a Dutch/Belgian apple doughnut, lukken--a Belgian waffle cookie typically enjoyed on New Year's, and Speculoos pie--made from speculoos cookie butter and featured here previously. Though Sinterklaas is a few weeks gone by, these treats would make excellent additions to your own music parties, fireside chats, or other holiday traditions, new or old. You can find the whole story and the recipes here. Many thanks to Sebastiaan Zijp, Victoria Lau of Ice Cream Jubilee, my Belgian relatives, editor Bonny Wolf, and my wonderful grandmother Georgette Harding for their generous help with the story.