I was planning to post this week's newspaper column, but, since it's been bumped, we're gonna have to do something different. This is my annual Christmas column that published this week
by Mark Tichenor
There’s nothing more galling than wandering through the refugee camp that is a shopping mall around Christmas, looking for, well, anything, really, that will relieve you of your social obligation and let you get on with your life. In this situation, it’s important to remember what the holiday spirit is all about.
You see, gift-giving isn’t just about the joy of getting, there’s also the pleasure inherent in giving a present. But sometimes we find ourselves in the awkward position of having to gifts to people we don’t care about, barely know, or dislike.
A friend of mine once received a quesadilla maker. You know, those revolting little melted-cheese tortilla sandwiches you find on the appetizer menu at Denny’s? A frying pan seems like the perfect implement, should anyone get the desire to whip a batch up in their own kitchen. But he got a specialized, hinged tool, the only possible purpose of which is to make quesadillas. Not waffles. Not pizelles (whatever those are). Just quesadillas.
Needless to say, the thing remains unopened five years later, but, like all crappy gifts, it’s still hanging around taking up space in his closet.
I took a lesson from this. When you must give gifts out of obligation, you might as well enjoy yourself.
This year, why not give the gift that says “I dare you?” I dare you to frown when you open this. I dare you not to force a smile and embrace me with a big thank-you hug. I dare you not to use this gift, but I also dare you to try and use it.
As noted above, specialty cooking appliances are a great place to start. A whole range of products are available to, theoretically, enable the creation of all kinds of wonderful foods right there in your friend’s kitchen. Why, if correctly equipped, they could create a whole delicious meal! Quesadillas as an appetizer, followed by hearty fajitas, made on the purpose-designed fajita grill.
After the main course, You can make some homemade yogurt in the yogurt maker (step 1: add yogurt) as a palate cleanser before moving on to runny, semisolid homemade ice cream or smores, made in (I swear this exists) their very own smore-making apparatus.
Following the meal, it’s time for some holiday cheer, so everyone can gather around the cascading beverage fountain (word of caution, it foams over if you fill it with beer).