December is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful times of the year with a whole lot of Christmassy feel to it. The colours, lights, decorations, traditions, cakes & cookies, weather everything together creates a magical festive mood in the air, and I absolutely love it.
This year, I am enjoying every bits & piece of this wintery Christmas to the fullest in my own way. I have set up a small table top Christmas tree in my room, shopped some ornaments and props for my Xmas edition food photography session, got my boozy soaked dry fruits ready to go into the traditional fruit cake, all set to bake some holiday cookies, and most importantly did some Christmas shopping too for myself. Unless I do that last bit I don’t think I would enjoy any occasion for that matter. Yeah, you got it, the same old logic of women and shopping. Whatever..
Having said that, I should also mention that Christmas was never such a big deal for me as it is today. Coming from a traditional Hindu family, I never really had a chance to celebrate Christmas the way I do now.
When I look back to my childhood days, Christmas was mainly about two things, school holidays and the X’mas celebrations at the school where I was an active participant in almost everything, from carol singing to stage plays. Thanks to Mrs. Banker(my darling mom), I still have some embarrassing yet lovely pictures from those days that she had managed to capture in between her busy bank hours. Yeah, she never missed any of my school events.
Apart from these school celebrations, the other most prominent thing about Christmas during those days was the Plum cake, popularly known as Fruitcake to the rest of the world. It is known as Plum cake in Kerala – my hometown, and I have no idea why is it called so.
At home, we never used to buy these cakes but during Christmas time it used to appear all by itself like magic. Perks of having both the parents as bankers I say. Didn’t make sense? Well, that’s how things work in my hometown, where Christmas is much more than a religious festival.
When it’s that time of the year most of the A-list customers of the bank used to gift plum cakes to each and every employee of the bank to keep a good rapport with them. Good old ways of maintaining business relationships. Can’t believe things were that simple those days. Just a cake!
Anyway, thanks to those motherly instincts, every Christmas season, Mrs. Banker’s share of cakes used to reach home safely. At the same time, the story was totally different with Mr. Banker, obviously my dad with principles. He being the BOSS, people used to offer him some really special cakes other than the usual fruitcakes but none of them made its way to our home. He used to give them away, I mean all of them. Well, I guess that’s how moms and dads are designed to function (typically).
Coming back to the cakes, most of them that I had tasted as a kid was the old fashioned Kerala style plum cakes. Wondering what’s that? Fruit cake that is covered in royal icing but a very thin layer with a couple of rose piping on it. I have a sweet tooth and back then nothing was too sweet for me. I used to polish the whole thing up without thinking twice. But as I grew up I developed a liking for cakes without icing. And now, I like cakes only that way.
By the time the baking bug bit me I made my first fruit cake. At home, alcohol was not allowed so I made that one with orange juice and it turned out pretty well. Mrs. Banker even took some with her to work so that she can boast about her daughter’s baking skills to her colleagues. Moms… you gotta love them a little extra.
I say something is really good only when it is my dad approved good. Mr. Banker has always been my food tester/taster whenever I bake or cook anything. He is not only the taster but is a good food critic too. Trust me it’s not easy to make his taste buds happy. Oh well, I forgot to mention that he is an awesome cook too, naturally blessed and stuff. And guess what? My first ever fruit cake was a super duper hit with him which means it was perfect in taste, texture and looks.
In short, Mr. Banker heads the Quality Assurance dept. and Mrs. Banker takes care of the Marketing for my food. The best support system I have, and I couldn’t have asked for any better.