When I was young, my mother always made soup and sandwiches on Christmas Eve. I can still remember a pot of something wonderful simmering on the stove, while she laid out cold cuts and cheeses, condiments and loaves of bread so everyone could assemble their own sandwiches.

It seemed like such a special meal to me at the time. Of course, now that I’m an adult and a mother of three, I can clearly see the genius in my mother’s menu planning. Soup is relatively quick and easy to make, and if everyone is putting together their own sandwiches and helping themselves to the soup, that left her free to wrap presents.

Even though I understand her motivation, it doesn’t diminish the feeling I get when I think back to those holidays meals. They still seem special. I don’t think they would seem any more special if she had made a fancy meal.

While my own family holiday meals tend to vary from year to year, and don’t always include soup, I have created some traditions that I hope my kids will remember fondly. Most important, whatever we make for dinner, we make it together. The time we spend talking and laughing, in between the chopping, stirring and sautéing, is priceless.

Of course, having everyone help in the kitchen makes the meal much quicker and easier to prepare than if I was cooking alone, which in turn leaves me more time to wrap presents. I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

My wish for you this holiday season is that you and yours have a chance to share each other’s company, enjoy each other’s cooking and make memories together that will last a lifetime. And if it happens to be over a bowl of soup, all the better. Happy holidays.


Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.