Sure, the holidays are said to be all about the spirit of giving. But for me, they’re mostly about the joy of eating.
Coming from a half-Jewish, half-Christian family, I’ve had the delightful opportunity year after year to fill up on customary Hanukkah treats and festive Christmas sweets. During Hanukkah, I’m granted piles of latkes (crispy pillows of fried potato goodness) and mouth-watering milk chocolate gelt (coins). But my favorite food tradition of the season is my family’s annual haul of goodies from the Trader Joe’s holiday collection. Every December, our preferred grocery store puts out a wondrous array of chocolate-covered peppermint Joe-Joe cookies, caramel-filled Belgian Stroopwafels (best when warmed over a steaming cup of tea to melt the caramel), delicately spiced and powdered sugar-drenched German Pfeffernusse cookies, and buttery English toffee. The limited appearance of these coveted items warrants near-heartbreak about a week after New Year’s Day when they suddenly disappear from stores.