Some of the best family holiday traditions undoubtedly revolve around food. I would say that that's somewhat true in my family.
Unfortunately I'm not a huge fan of our typical holiday fare. Since I can remember my mom would always make two dishes:
- Bacalao, a cod fish tomato stew that never fails to make the house reek of dead fish while it cooks. How that doesn't turn everyone off it, I do not know.
- Ensalada de manzana, an apple salad made with Mexican crema which I am not a fan of.
Full disclosure: I have never actually tried any of these dishes. But the five-year old picky eater in me resists. It's so engrained, it's Pavlovian.
Every year, twice a year for Christmas and New Year's my mom will make those two dishes and every year, twice a year everyone loves it but me. Then a few years ago my mom came up with her "espaguetti blanco," and a new tradition was born. It's nothing fancy by any stretch. But I love it. And because my mom makes it, it's always extra delicious.
Because I didn't spend the holidays with my family this year, I decided to recreate a little part of home. The cheesiest part. Smart, I know. So I asked my mom for the recipe and like anything worthy of being passed down from mother to daughter, it is devoid of any actual measurements.
The recipe's essentials include lots of cheese, ham, spaghetti, some butter, a little milk, salt and pepper to taste. Assemble, bake, and enjoy.
It came out great. As great as mom? Almost. But that's always the case. I have time to practice still, zero in on ratios and measurements. Maybe that will be my legacy to pass down. Cups and tablespoons. I kinda like it.
Happy New Year!