December is here and while some parts of the country, and even the world, are buried knee or neck deep in snow, here in the Sunny Southwest it is a mild and dry 78 degrees. I can kick my feet up on the back porch with a tamarind agua fresca and write my articles for the blog without wearing a jacket.
December, of course, is the month of Christmas, if you celebrate it, along with Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Unlike other months, the food holidays this month reflect the food found in holiday celebrations (although there is no national challah bread day). Just a quick look revealed several candy days, Egg Nog Day, and Pumpkin Pie Day, though there weren’t any days celebrating ham or goose.
Pumpkin pie has always been my favorite holiday pie. I remember growing up and helping the church ladies make dozens of pies for the big buffets. I would enter the kitchen and encounter what seemed to me thousands of pie tins containing homemade pie crusts laid out to be filled with the traditional pie filling. Pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, pumpkin pie spice, and of course, whipped cream for the top of the pie once it cooled down. Realistically it was probably about 20-25 pies. But to a child all things adult look bigger. When I graduated into banquet kitchens is when the numbers really did turn into several hundred pumpkin pies on speed carts lined up in the coolers ready to be slotted into place on the dessert buffet table.
Cooking and baking vegan make doesn’t make it all that different for cooking pumpkin pie. The only ingredient swapped out is evaporated milk for coconut milk or tofu, and using sugar that is from a verified vegan source. I do make my own pumpkin puree, which is then combined with full fat coconut milk or silken soft tofu and spices, cooked to perfection, and then served with whipped coconut cream on the top. I can pass these pies in front of any omnivore and have them devour their slices without blinking an eye. The trick to getting people to eat good vegan food is to not tell them what you put in the pie. Just feed them. If it tastes good they will eat it.
Continuing on with the month-long celebrations, here’s what’s in store for December: National Fruit Cake Month, National Egg Nog Month, and National Pear Month. Week-long celebrations include Cookie Cutter Week and Lager Beer Week.
My favorites of the daily celebrations are:
December 1st: National Pie Day
December 1st: Eat a Red Apple Day
December 4th: National Cookie Day
December 6th: National Gazpacho Day
December 8th: National Chocolate Brownie Day
December 12th: Gingerbread House Day
December 16th: National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day (probably my favorite!)
December 17th – National Maple Syrup Day
December 19th: National Hard Candy Day
December 21st: National Burger Day: My favorite meatless burger is chickpea.
December 25th: National Pumpkin Pie Day: Try tofu pumpkin pie with a gluten free crust. Yum!
December 31st: National Champagne Day
There are many others, but these are my choice picks for food holidays in the month of December. I will be finding and posting photos of some of these days over on Instagram. Keep an eye over there for food feast images.