Every year on winter solstice we have a family party – Merry Yule! Especially during our winter time in Alaska this day is a big turning point – the shortest day of the year is the beginning of longer days and the approximate midpoint of chilly winter weather. Yes, there are still heavy winter storms in late March sometimes, but there is mostly rain after February here in Southeast. Most of our snow this season so far is melted, with temperatures in the high 30s, and a white Christmas is questionable. Regardless of the weather there is definitely a shortage if light. Sunrise is about 8:45am, if you can see it through the clouds, and then sets about 3pm. One way we celebrate Yule each year is to have a simple meal, made up of preserved foods that require little or no cooking. We don’t do much of the preserving ourselves, but work off the labors of others. Big D smokes some jerky, onion, garlic and cheese, while other items like pickled veggies, cured meats and nuts are added to the platter. We snack from the platter while sipping something bubbly – champagne, beer for me and Big D, and root beer for Little B. It makes for a winter celebration we appreciate before the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve and Day, which remind us of our childhood traditions. The simple celebration reminds us that the world is hibernating under the bare branches, blustery winds and wet ground. It reminds us of our New Year resolutions from Samhain and look forward to the Candlemas celebration of light in February. A time to ponder during a more sedate time of year when much of the natural world sleeps. Since there is not much recipe involved, here is a list of suggested items for your platter.
Dry coppa, pastrami or prosciutto
Garlic Stuffed Olives
Jalapeno Stuffed Olives
Dry Roasted Mixed Nuts
Specialty Cheeses, sliced
Roasted Mixed Nuts
Arrange ingredients in a pretty way on large platter. Offer and provide bubbly and/or fermented beverages. Eat, drink, be merry. Don’t feel guilty about the ease of this dinner, for more complicated ones are on the horizon.