one great thing about the holidays (some years, the only great thing) is the wonderful foodstuffs, meals and treats that we indulge in. fruitcake aside (as far aside as possible) there’s a literal cornucopia of great dishes we prepare and consume as part of the festivities.

but i’m using this space to consider the non-traditional fare that i’ve come across in the last few years. i’m reminded of one thanksgiving many years ago when mrs. skippy and i had neither the time nor energy nor the inclination to spend a day and a half preparing a huge turkey dinner w/all the trimmings. we decided that year to celebrate the bountiful harvest by having spaghetti w/clam sauce, one of our fav dishes in the non-holiday days.

our joke, from then on, was the "traditional holiday clams."

another great food we enjoy this time of year can only be found up beachwood canyon in los angeles. beachwood canyon is a lovely series of roads that snake into the hollywood hills (and in fact, is where the famous hollywood sign resides). a few blocks up the canyon on gower street is the convent of the angels, one of the last convents in america where the dominican nuns are cloistered.

and the hip foodies in los angeles know that this time of year is when the nuns offer their home-made (‘convent-made’?) pumpkin bread for sale. better than fruitcake, more substantial than any holiday pie, but not as over-sweet as cakes, this great bread has the texture and quality of fresh-baked gingerbread, only with the taste of pumpkin.

the pumpkin bread makes great gifts, because not only is it delicious, the whole story of cloistered nuns making dessert from scratch is a rather christmas-y kind of tale to start with.

mrs. skippy and i always buy a few for presents to co-workers and friends, and are sure to keep a couple of extra loaves for our own holidays.

does anyone else have some non-traditional tradtions for holiday treats?

[cross-posted at skippy the bush kangaroo]