One of the things that can be irritating about piped-in holiday music is that my tastes are so specific to how I grew up. I made this Christmas mix for me, so I could hear just the right thing over cocoa. It can be a starting point for your own mix, or an easy collection for cocktails.
My top-ten favorite Christmas songs:
1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Judy Garland
2. Silent Night, Holy Night, Frank Sinatra
3. Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt
4. Silver Bells, Stevie Wonder
5. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Michael Bublé
6. Frosty the Snowman, Fiona Apple
7. Go Tell it On the Mountain, Dolly Parton
8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Gene Autry
9. What Child is This, Kristen Chenowith
10. O Holy Night, Kelly Clarkson
That last one especially.
What songs put you in the mood for decking the halls?
I used to walk past the Opera House on the way home from work, and in December I’d see all the little girls leaving the Nutcracker in their holiday dresses. They’d come outside to twirl in their skirts, and leap like the ballerinas they’d just seen onstage. Every Christmas, it stopped me on the sidewalk with my breath fogging in the air.
Bryan is adventurous about most things, and especially food. Wherever we go in the world, he tries the sausage. Good idea in Germany, but Malaysia? Anyway, lately, he’s taken to trying meat of all sorts, which is how we ended up preparing Matambre for Christmas. Turns out it’s a very typical Argentine dish, and you should know how to make it, because it’s awesome.
It all started when Bryan dragged me into the butcher shop around the corner, and then pointed to stuff while I tried to translate. The conversation with the butcher went like this:
Bryan: What is that?
Me: What is that?
Me: What is matambre?
Butcher: Meat and things.
Bryan: I want one of those.
Me: Uh. OK. How do you prepare it?
Butcher: You put it in boiling water for two hours, then freeze it.
Me: In the freezer?
Me: Freeze it?
Butcher: No! You freeze it with the post in the sink.
Me: You make it cold?
Me: OK. Do you cook it in the plastic and everything?
Him: Yes, yes! Then you break it with the sink.
In answer to my utter confusion, the butcher mimed preparation of the meat, which ended with us putting the roast in the sink and whacking it hard with the bottom of the pan.
Apparently, a lot of people serve it cold as an appetizer, though they don’t put it in the freezer to get it that way. It’s crazy tasty, and a lot like corned beef, except the vegetables are already rolled up inside with a couple of boiled eggs for good measure. That’s why it looks sort of like a severed arm when you first open it up. Delicious.