I didn't know about the wonderful German confection called marzipan until my 20-something year old high school German language teacher gave me a small box of marzipan fruit for Christmas my sophomore year (yes, I had a terrible crush on her). The perfect miniature beauty of the marzipan fruit didn't stop me from sampling; I have been smitten by the flavor of marzipan candy ever since. Who knew that almond flour (with some low percentage of bitter almond) and sugar could be worked into such a delicious and versatile culinary clay. The material is used for much more than making delicious little figures, but that's what I keyed in on ... and am still focussed on.
I am shocked to report that I have gone whole hog with marzipan this Christmas. Kate, who most definitely doesn't love the flavor of marzipan, gave me a box of chocolate covered marzipan and a marzipan pig. I am embarrassed to report that I have consumed an entire pork belly, pair of hams, pair of shoulders and more, already this morning. I am weak when it comes to marzipan.
There's more to the marzipan pig than meets the eye, however. This confection is a traditional German gift that symbolizes good luck and prosperity when given at Christmas and New Year's. I am indeed lucky ... this particular pig had a meerschaum pipe and four-leaf clover in its mouth.
Marzipan is but one of the many Christmas delights that I carry with me from those misty days as a kid. What is it about snickerdoodles, molasses cookies, mincemeat pie and hard cider (well, maybe I didn't get into stump juice when I was a kid) that so delight on this day? I can't rationally explain it, but festive food always played a part in our seasonal celebrations. I'd love to hear about some of your holiday traditions ... why not post a few of them in the comments here.
Merry Christmas everyone. Thanks for making our work at GRIT so joyful.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.