Christmas Eve, every bit as much as Christmas Day, is a magical time. When my children were small, there were lots of things we had to do before they’d be “nestled all snug in their beds” waiting to hear St. Nick on the rooftop. All evening long, for example, we kept trying to have conversations with our cats and dogs, because we believed the legend that on Christmas Eve all animals can speak.
Then we had to watch Beatrix Potter videos — first, “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly Poly Pudding” — a story where Tom Kitten gets kidnapped by two rats who then try to roll him up in a roly-poly pudding (a traditional Christmas dessert) to cook him for dinner, followed by “The Tailor of Gloucester” where the impoverished and sick old tailor who ran out of silk thread to finish his work on Christmas Eve is saved by friendly little mice who come to his rescue while he sleeps, bringing silk and sewing the Mayor’s fancy coat themselves for the tailor to see when he wakes up Christmas morning.
Then after leaving Santa his cookies and milk near the tree, we had to feed the reindeer. After all, they’d worked very hard to bring gifts to children everywhere on earth. We made special reindeer food — grains and nuts with a touch of glitter. When we threw it out into the yard, the glitter would catch the reindeer’s eyes so while Santa was inside, they could graze and be happy.
It’s funny how Santa somehow just knows when children have grown up. He — and the reindeer — move on to other homes with younger children. But thoughts of reindeer food — magical reindeer food, with its power to bring memories of animals who talk as well as animals who pull sleighs that carry gifts around the world with presents — still remain.
That’s why I make this luxurious, delicious, amaretto-soaked* Grownup Reindeer Food. It’s for us, the ones who are “grownups”, on Christmas Eve. Surely, after all those years of being both Santa and eight reindeer, we deserve it.
This is great for parties, served in individual wineglasses along with tasting spoons! Here’s the recipe on Kristen Bateman’s blog, Sudden Chic. Happy holidays!
*Note: Small sips of amaretto throughout the process of making this reindeer food could possibly improve your cooking experience.
Karen Resta is a writer, a food culturalist, and a sometimes-fashionista who mostly loves ice cream and Brooklyn.