The holiday season feels a bit like dancing on a fault line, a high wire act, so to speak. My intention is to 1. recognize and acknowledge how (or, let’s be honest, if) the season is to be celebrated, and 2. how (or, if) my idea of celebration is a fit with historical familial expectations. This has been an evolutionary process for me over 15 years, and the celebratory factor in all of it morphs a bit each year.
Food is a cornerstone of celebration. It’s a method, a tool, the vehicle. Whether dinner with a dear friend or a more ceremonial family gathering, memories are seeded and cemented with food, and the event is marked.
The daily celebration that was Tavern on the Green in Central Park-New York City lives on in its Hazelnut Cheesecake. The premium dessert nut, the hazelnut, is toasted and stirred into a simple sugar syrup and processed into paste. It becomes the primary flavor in a dense yet silky dessert, the texture benefitted by a bain marie (water bath), and can only be described as sensual.
This hazelnut cheesecake made its way 31 years after I first made it to my office Thanksgiving luncheon. There’s no crust, per se, just graham cracker crumbs that meld into the finished dessert.
So, how to celebrate? Savor each moment, each taste, and dedicate the event to the chronology of your life. Every event becomes a celebration.