Thursday, January 7, 2016

Christmas (in food photos)

Dan and I spent a week over Christmas in his hometown near Pittsburgh, and I think I gained a few pounds!  My husband isn't a shutterbug, so after the holiday I realized that my photos from our trip were kind of typical Aubrey snaps: food and cats.  But since the food was pretty special, I figured I'd share what my Christmas looked like, in food pics.  Like, a TON of food pics.  I warned you.

(I'm sorry, New Year's Resolutioners.  I'm with you, I'm counting points again and working on getting my waistline to reduce...  but I couldn't not share, because this is NOT the normal Midwest Christmas fare I'm used to!  Definitely a unique thing for me.  I don't think I saw ham or a pumpkin pie I don't think.)

Where Dan grew up, there's a place called Mac's Donut Shop, and it's delicious.  It's located a block from a Dunkin Donuts, and yet it's packed every morning because the donuts are so good!  The family that runs it now has had it for three generations.  I loved their frosted cake donuts especially.

Pretty much every place I saw with donuts had black & yellow ones... classic Pittsburgh.

There's a large Italian population where Dan grew up, and he has Italian heritage in his family.  So my plate, at every meal, looked like a smorgasbord of homemade Italian goodies!  This plate is all kinds of wonderful: braciole, meatballs, roasted chicken and potatoes, pasta in sauce.

I even got to learn a bit about how to cook things from my mother-in-law, including making ricotta gnocchi...


...and of course sauce.

My MIL also made seafood to celebrate Christmas; I do like crabcakes!

And I can now add Italian Wedding soup to the short list of soups that I like!

We didn't dine out much, but when we did I could never finish my plate!  Here's a meatball calzone I had at Vesuvio's... I ate almost half of it and saved the rest for Dan.

Dan also took me to one of his favorites, Burgatory.  I had a burger that had bacon in the patty and added rubs, sauces, etc. for a really rich, custom burger.  Not bad!  We also had Salted Nutella Crunch milkshake to share, and it was over the top.

At homes we visited, they also had these Italian nougat candies; I liked the vanilla flavor.

Now, here's something I didn't anticipate...  cookie platters.  When we were at my niece's high school graduation, there was a huge table "buffet" of homemade cookies out.  I thought it was just because she loved cookies!  Dan thought I was weird because I mentioned this was a strange tradition... as it turns out, it's regional to the Pittsburgh area.  He had not idea that everyone else didn't do this.

Everywhere we went, everyone had cookies!  The cookies with Hershey kisses were especially popular given Hershey is in PA.  Here are three I snapped.  I also saw lots of pizzelles, an Italian waffle cookie.

As you can tell, it was a Christmas filled with plenty.  It's hard not to look at these photos and think about how rich my holiday was, and how fortunate I am to have more than I could ever want to eat.  But I also think about the love that went into making so many of these from-scratch foods.

And since I love a good cat photo, I leave you with a snap of my sister-in-law, Agnes. :)  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday too!

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