The scent of cinnamon and gingerbread, the haze of icing sugar and chocolate powder in the air, the zest of lemons and toffee taste of muscovado sugar…
These are the things that mean Christmas in my kitchen as Maya and I make edible gifts for family and friends.
I know that this can be a frantic time but, if we can take a few moments away from the shops and stress, it’s also a wonderful season for sharing a love of food and knowledge of cooking with our children. I strongly believe that when children see what goes into homemade biscuits, chocolates and candied peels – buying quality ingredients, making their treats and then tucking into one or two – they’re more likely to have a respect for sweet foods. Because there’s a world of difference between delicious morsels like this, which satisfy the taste buds with just a few mouthfuls, and the bucket loads of sugar, fat and additive-laden sweets plied to us at Christmas, however enticing they look in their shiny wrappers.
In this age of consumerism and materialism, it’s so much more meaningful for children (and adults) to give and receive gifts that have been made especially for them. I know my parents and neighbours love the Christmas tree biscuits Maya makes each year. Like all things in life, the anticipation and effort which goes into making something will usually mean it’s far more delicious when you come to eat it.
A final tip this month… Try to enjoy any sweet delicacies as more of a pudding than a mid-afternoon nibble, so on a full stomach rather than an empty one. If you’ve had food containing fibre or protein beforehand it will help to slow the absorption of the sugar, meaning that your blood sugar level will be less likely to fluctuate and cause an energy crash. After all, we all need every ounce of get-up-and-go to help us through this hectic time.
Season’s greetings to you, from myself and my friends here at Nourish.
Here’s to a very merry Christmas for all.