At The Fork's house, the tiny Christmas tree our partner got stands in fearsome defiance of the cats who would tear it asunder—which can only mean Christmas is coming. We usually try to stick to a little bit of indifference around the holiday. As kids, it wasn't always the greatest, and we also are scared of those deal-hunters who trample folks and such. But there is, of course, one thing about the day that we can probably all agree is awesome: You get to pretty much eat whatever the heck you want.

We've got our fingers crossed for cookies and pies and NOT Field Roasts, and you just know there's bound to be more mashed potatoes somewhere in there. We're into that. That's not even mentioning the candies and sweets and such.

In The Fork's youth, we'd also look forward to the TV specials and movies, even if it is weird that some channels play one movie (usually A Christmas Story) for 24 hours straight). At this point, however, we're mostly in it for 1987's A Child's Christmas in Wales (based, of course, on the Dylan Thomas work and starring Denholm Elliott, whom most of you probably know as Marcus Brody from the Indiana Jones series but was so much MUCH more) and A Muppet Christmas Carol. Michael Caine is no Denholm Elliott, but really, who is?

Anyway, we have questions, too, that we're hoping you readers might be able to help us with:

-Do any of you actually do a Christmas goose?
If so, how do you prepare that thing? We don't want it, we're just curious because basically all literature has led us to believe that's a thing.

-When you don't celebrate—for religious or other reasons—is Dec. 25 just the worst?
We kind of like going to the movies that day … although, we do celebrate, just more like we like getting new scarves.

-Does your family have any weird traditions that are, like, regional or otherwise not widely known?
We would LOVE to hear about these things to feature them in a future Fork.

-What is your hands-down favorite part of this time of year? 
Is it the pie thing?

Write us! Do it. Start it now. Even to tell us you think we're a jerk.

Y'know, to get in the spirit!

¡CHRISTMAS HISTORY ALERT!

There is all kinds of weird history wrapped up in Santa Claus, or St. Nick, but just in case you didn't know or are looking to ruin it for the kids, St. Nicholas was a fourth-century bishop who lived in an area of Asia Minor that we know better today as Turkey. His deal was that he was apparently generous, and the version of him we now know is primarily based in English (as in England, y'all) ideas. Between that and boiled meat, they're really doing it over there.

You may have heard that the image of Santa we know today, all red and white and whatever, is totally brought to you by the folks at Coca-Cola. Sadly, this doesn't appear to be true. Or is that sad? Actually, who cares? The point is, snopes.com says no way to the Coke/Santa theory.

In Germany and/or Austria, instead of Santa Claus, they have the Christkind, a golden-haired child who doles out the feel-goods and the prezzies. Sleep well, children of Earth, knowing an immortal golden child is aware of your address and gearing up to float by with telepathic prezzie-giving powers and a long, flowing gown. Just don't look him in the eye, whatever you do.

While true that the Pagans were into bringing trees and fronds and such indoors during winter to be like, "Yeah, trees are cool! Let's worship the sun and the tides and wear robes!", the real deal with the Christmas tree is really something more like puritan weirdoes like Clement Moore (he wrote The Night Before Christmas, aka A Visit From St. Nick) didn't much care for the partying and drinking associated with the holiday circa-1800-something, so they tried to deflect and distract with a tree. Hmmmm. Tree or that Christmassy buzz-buzz? You be the judge. Either way, that's a pretty shitty distraction. Like, if you were distracting someone these days, how well do you think "LOOKATTHATTREE!!!!" would work?

You can thank the Dutch for the tradition of hanging stockings, although in their version, they'd fill 'em up with goodies for Santa and his non-flying donkeys. Santa, grateful for oranges from the House of Orange (note: the House of Orange bit is not real history … yes, it existed, but it's not where oranges come from) and candy and such, would leave them stuff in return … like Legos, those chocolate coins, lottery tickets, a new toothbrush and one of those weird little toys that collapses when you push the button on the bottom. You know the ones.

In the world of food (since we almost forgot this newsletter is about food), candy canes, we hear, were created in the late-ish 1600s to keep kids shut the hell up during church services associated with the holiday. Today, they exist to shatter teeth and to be begrudgingly eaten when you just need something sweet but it's 11 at night and you've got no other choice.

Lastly, fruit cake—everyone's most hated cake—is so dense and awful because the idea is that it was supposed to last all year. Side note, if you're thinking of making these to send to people, just don't.

This-here song was made by a Santa Fe musician. You're welcome.

¡READER QUERY ALERT!

Fork mega-fan Sheryl is wondering if there are any Santa Fe food biz's that serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve.

"What is that?" you may be asking, like we were when we read Sheryl's email. Well, sit down, Fork Fans, and let us fill you in—it's an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition wherein Italian families who ate light during the day would then go to town on fish at night. As missers of fish, we think this sounds awesome, so if anyone knows anything about it, we'd love to help Sheryl out.

As for the rest of you, if you have any food-related queries you're hoping to get to the bottom of, let us know. If we can't find out, we promise we'll at least make jokes and stuff.

Also

-We received a kicky email from the folks at La Casa Sena suggesting that we give the gift of Mezcal this year. We think that's a pretty good idea! Think of it like tequila, only WAY better. We've got some tips, too.

-Voting is underway for Edible's Local Hero Awards, and you'll find a bevy of Santa Fe spots on the list like The Compound, Arable, Paloma and lots more. Get to voting for your faves. The nominees are being recognized for their commitment to locally-sourced and prepared ingredients and foods and stuff.

-Longtime Santa Fe favorite The Palace Restaurant and Saloon finds itself in flux again, and The Fork is hearing the downtown restaurant/bar is effectively closed for good. We'll tell you more as we hear, but be aware that the shows and food services are kaput for the foreseeable future. Bummer. We wish all the employees who stand to lose their jobs good luck—and if you've got a line on some new work, let us know and we'll let them know.

-Also sad is the closure of Buckhorn Burgers in San Antonio—the New Mexico San Antonio. News channel KRQE reports that no one is sure why the proprietors of one of the country's most beloved green chile cheeseburgers have chosen to close, but The Fork takes solace in knowing they once beat the too-smug Bobby Flay in a cook-off.

-But when one thing ends, another thing is bound to begin, in this case Santa Fe's newest coffee shop, REMIX Audio Bar on Marcy Street. Not only do owners Justin Ray and Julie Grace brew a KILLER cup of coffee, the second-story shop also boasts wireless earphones for a silent disco experience. We're told they'll evolve the multiple channels of playlists and video over time with customer input, and that we can expect live DJs to perform as well. Not only that, but Grace tells us they hope to kick off a coffee club membership kinda thing wherein free cups can be gained.

More Tidbits

-5.1 million pounds of red meat were recalled earlier this week over salmonella concerns. "Why don't you eat meat anymore, The Fork?" a lot of you ask. Well, this isn't why, but it doesn't help, we can tell you that.

-If that weren't bad enough, eight major dog food brands have been recalled as well due to toxic levels of Vitamin D. Do you know how much damn D has to be in something for it to be toxic? The Fork isn't a doctor, but we know it's A LOT.

-The failing (jay kay) New York Times released its list of the best baking cookbooks for 2018, and the photos alone made us want pie and stuff so bad we're fixin' to cry. Note this article for when you need to gift at your loved ones who say things like, "I just really like baking, y'know? I do it to relax."

-Longtime readers will surely know that The Fork is a HUGE fan of The Great British Baking Show. Part of it is the crazy stuff they make, part of it is that no one on the show is really competitive and it makes American shows of a similar nature make us look like bloodthirsty and semi-illiterate monsters. Anyway, Netflix released some special Christmassy episodes, we watched them, they're delightful.

Nailed It! is returning to Netflix, too! It's the show where everyday people attempt complicated baking only to produce hysterically awful nonsense. It's soooo good. You should watch it.

-In No The Hell Way, We're Never Doing it That Way news, a professor from Harvard (the most expensive and therefore best school) suggests that, while out at restaurants, we limit our french fry intake to six fries. You read that right. Six. As in, seven-minus-one, five-plus-one; six-minus-zero-plus-zero. Backlash naturally followed via the garbage fire that is Twitter and, when the dust cleared, the professor responded, saying something to the effect of it would be nice if restaurants offered smaller portions if that's what people want. Yeah, yeah, Harvard—nice try, but if we're playing the "It Would Be Nice" game, you could pretty much apply that to anything. Like, "It would be nice if dog food didn't contain toxic amounts of vitamin D," for example.

-Lastly, in the wide world of food, delish.com has published a list of chain eateries open on Christmas. We waffle between how places like this are run by monsters who hate family and friendship, but then we remember the people who don't celebrate Christmas and think, "Damn, those people maybe gotta grab some Panda Express!" Either way, just do what's right for you? I dunno. Like we said, The Fork isn't a doctor, so…

Finally
We definitely gave you fair warning that Christmas stuff was coming, and don’t forget that we wanna hear from you about the weird stuff you’re doing to food.
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A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence Number of Letters Receieved
42
*A couple of them were really nice, too. Like, too nice almost.Most Helpful Tip of the Week (edited slightly for length)
“You did it wrong, idiot.”
*Dang!
Actually Helpful Tip (only slightly edited for content)
The one that suggests we pan-fry our Field Roast slices after cooking and if/when we try it again.
*Brilliant! Texture is obviously such an important part of the food equation, and we promise to try if it comes our way again.
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In the print edition of this week’s SFR, find tips on how to dine out like a human being from the culture editor. He tells The Fork that most of the tips were suggested by local restaurant folk who have struggled with unruly guests. Take the advice and heed it double around the holidays.Don’t fork-et us,
The Fork