painting of pomegranates, limes and December sunrise.

December Still Life. 8″ x 8″ gouache and watercolor pencil. Sharyn Dimmick

On December 23rd in the evening the sun has gone down, but not before I started to capture the hues of pomegranates and limes on a wicker plate and the sky outside my bedroom window: it is a December still life. There are limes on the lime tree, pomegranates from my last trip to the Farmers’ Market, a fresh version of Christmas colors in seasonal produce.

I started “The Kale Chronicles” in late August of 2011, just a bit over four months ago and have taken my readers through the foods of late summer, fall and the festivals of winter. Today I have no special food to offer you, other than food for thought. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking: I cook as I usually do, identifying things that we need to use and thinking up combinations that will please us. In the last few days I have made a pork stir-fry with cabbage, broccoli and leeks, a pot of brown rice, a pot of apples stewed in apple cider, a quick apple crostata, some sour cream buns. Today we ate the leftover stir-fry and rice for lunch and some of the stewed apples for dinner with fried potatoes made from leftover baked potatoes, some fresh spinach, and a slice of ham. I did not save a special recipe to wow you: many times we eat fairly plain food around here, but our food is wholesome and good. Our Christmas meal will feature several standards: roast turkey stuffed with bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and pan gravy, tossed green salad of spinach and arugula, roasted yams, cranberry sauce, my Grandma’s rolls, pies, pies, pies, cookies and candy (most likely from See’s unless Susan sends me some caramels). Other than the candy (which we used to make) we make everything ourselves from scratch and will be up at 5 AM Christmas morning sauteing and stuffing for our two o’clock dinner. Our double oven makes it possible to do all this in one day, heat our dishes, keep pies warm.

I look forward to being with you through a whole year in 2012, showcasing the produce I get from my vegetable box from Riverdog Farm, eating my way through all of the seasons, making tiny forays into preserving food, hoping to entice you to seek out the freshest foods you can find, whether you pull them from your own garden or fields or buy from farmers who grow the food. Take a moment to thank the farmers in your heart for without farmers and gardeners we would have a bare table in December, at least here in the northern hemisphere.

Wishing you well in the beautiful December light, whether it is the winter sunshine that pours in my window, the light reflected off the snow, starlight, candle light, fire light, the light in one another’s eyes. Happy Chanukah. Merry Christmas. Whatever festivals you celebrate, may there be peace and rejoicing at your table and over all the world.  — Sharyn

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