One can easily come up with all kinds of Christmas menu traditions celebrated here and in other parts of the world.
And believe it or not, tamales on Christmas Eve aren't for everybody (although they should be).
How about fried carp? Roast carp? Yes, that's Christmas fare in some European countries.
We'll stick with tamales in El Paso and Southern New Mexico. But let's not get snooty here. Traditions are traditions.
Many of us had our tamales on Christmas Eve and now there's a turkey or ham in the oven for Christmas Day.
But like few other places in the country, or around the globe, we have the best of two worlds. We enjoy the cultures from Mexico blended into ... did you know most of the Christmas customs in the United States were adopted from those in the United Kingdom?
But back to tamales, cranberry sauce, corn stuffing and the turkey gravy like only grandma can make.
And a word to children -- don't eat too many bizcochos or you'll ruin your appetite for dinner. Go play with your new toys.
Note: Any veteran tamale-maker will tell you the best tamale pork comes from the cheek of the pig. At this time every year, a former El Paso Times page production employee would whisper to newsroom staff that, psst, he'd just got this year's pig's head for his wife. She'll be so happy because they'd be making tamales over the weekend.
So perhaps this is a good place to segue back to carp -- and parts of the pig that do not come from the cheek.
In several countries in Western Europe, carp is a traditional Christmas food. They fry it in Austria and the Czech Republic, and they roast it in Germany.
In Romania, it's common to serve several hearty courses consisting of pork (organs, muscle, and fat). It's done as a symbolic gesture for St. Ignatius of Antioch, according to lore.
And in Australia, can you guess why they serve Christmas turkey, ham or chicken cold? Right out of the fridge, not off the barbie? And with side salads instead of mashed potatoes and stuffing?
It's because it's the hot season in the Southern Hemisphere.
Today is one of the biggest annual family days of the year in El Paso and Southern New Mexico -- and in much of the world.
As with Thanksgiving Day, we are thankful today for our blessings.
We've had a pretty good year, ups and downs but mostly ups. Things are getting better.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah.
And pass me one of those real traditional El Paso and Southern New Mexico tamales, please.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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