Holiday Letters and Caramel Corn

I read an article in the paper today trashing people’s penchants for writing holiday letters. It chastised those who write more than one side of one page, and those who dare to include too many details. Evidently humor isn’t a good thing, either. According to this article, they should be kept short, to the point, and only the most important details (told dryly).

Well, Bah Freaking Humbug!

I have a confession to make. I love reading other people’s holiday letters. I love each and every one. Every big announcement, every tiny detail, nothing is too mundane, corny, or self-indulgent. I love them! I love to hear about your summer trips, cousins I’ve never met, kids’ accomplishments, the new puppy, how you hate (or love) your job, and what new ornament you bought for your tree. I find them more interesting than celebrity gossip (another guilty pleasure). I especially love the photos. Professionally done or printed on a home printer, clear or grainy, perfectly composed or unevenly cropped. It doesn’t matter, I want to see them all.

I also must admit to another foible – I save the letters! I usually keep them at least a year, and sometimes two or three, until they finally go into the recycling bin. David will back me up on this. More than once he’s been yelled at, in August, for trying to throw away a letter received in December. I was just rereading a stack from 2005 the other day. Actually, I was hunting through them for addresses, to make sure I was sending cards to the right places. But I stopped and reread every one, and marveled at how small the kids were, the different careers, pets, vehicles, hairstyles and locations.

Each one made me think of my dear friends and all we’ve been through, both together and apart.

And so this season, I say, bring on the letters!

But, you won’t see one from me this year. I usually do write one. Last year I broke with tradition and skipped it. My life was topsy turvy, dealing with my diagnosis of celiac disease, and learning to be human again. So I sent generic cards (not even a photo!). This year, I thought about it, and decided, heck, y’all can read the blog.

Thank you to those of you who did take the time to record your important events of 2007. I have enjoyed each one, and am looking forward to rereading them next December!

Caramel Corn

Naturally gluten-free, incredibly easy, and totally decadent. Here’s a holiday favorite that I just made again, for the first time in at least a decade. I couldn’t remember why I hadn’t made it in so long, until it was all done and I realized I had sugar strewn all over the kitchen. Luckily it’s just sugar, it was fairly easy to clean. This stuff is so addictive, David and I have been wavering in and out of sugar comas since it came out of the oven. It’s probably best to make before a gathering or party or such, because you’ll want help eating it. It makes tons, and you won’t be able to stop eating until it’s all gone.

6 quarts popped corn
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
dash of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

You will need two buttered cookie sheets or 9″ X 13″ pans. Make sure they are ready to go, and the popcorn is popped, before you start the caramel.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Put the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt into a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir gently until the sugar is melted. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and boil for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the vanilla and baking soda, and stir quickly to mix. Pour caramel mixture over the popcorn, and mix well. Divide between the pans and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir again. Let cool thoroughly and store in an airtight container.

Munch on this while watching your favorite holiday movie!

About Li

A writer, runner, and Gluten-Free Zealot, I've been helping others navigate the gluten-free lifestyle for many years. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and when you're gluten-free, it's even better!
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