Christmas Food and Happy Times

I love Christmas because of the food! Christmas is the time of the year that we all come together to prepare traditional dishes that are so laborious that we only make them once a year, if at all. In my multi-cultural and eclectic family—we're Venezuelan, Italian, and Latvian—this means a flavorful combination of pastries, cookies, and savory dishes. What follows is a chronology of all the Christmas food and family traditions I love and dearly miss because it’s the best culinary time of the year....

Become a good cook

Uncle Gianfranco is one of my favorite cooks and has a passion for food that only Italians can understand. On a recent Facetime with him, he gave me the following piece of advice: "Learn to cook really well 3 or 4 pasta sauces. This way you'll always have friends around for dinner." Seeing him cook over the years to parties of all sizes, from small family gatherings of 10-15 people to large groups of friends, it makes sense....