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Filling up on favorites

Eat, drink and be merry rolls off the tongue around the holidays for a reason.

The menus are diverse, the appetites are no holds barred and the catering businesses are busy.

“We’ll do whatever we’re asked, and I’ve heard it all,” said Michael Jacobson, executive chef and co-owner of Celtic Catering.



Jacobson spent Christmas Day at the Dory’s Oar — his other restaurant business — catering to the whims of 140 people with appetites.

At least the Christmas crowd seems to have taste. He recalled one wedding planner who wanted to order bologna sandwiches for budgetary reasons, and he talked him out of it.




A group of Southerners ordered catfish, greens and black-eyed peas. Pizza and deviled eggs made up another requested menu.

The Christmas 2002 menu brought out the English in the diners. Try pumpkin bisque, the traditional favorite — roast turkey, sautZ of winter vegetables and steamed Christmas pudding with creme anglaise.

The Tilley and Shephard families — in town for 10 days –sat up in their chairs when the latter was delivered to their table.

By the time the dessert arrived, the two families — half hailing from London — had already played with their hidden discoveries in the paper crackers.

The English tradition calls for guests to pull hard on a paper roll until the two halves split and paper hats and toys fall onto the table.

Clarissa Shephard left her hat on at the table during the whole meal.

Last year, the two families cooked their version of a roast turkey meal in their South Shore vacation rental. This time, they let Celtic Catering do all the work.

And hard work during the holidays is familiar to Jacobson, a chef of 20 years who uses a George Forman grill and toaster oven at home in Christmas Valley.

“If you put heart and soul and integrity into the meal, you can’t go wrong,” Jacobson said. “Anybody can drop french fries, and the timer goes off.”

Those wishing to venture away from of the same tired meal may want to check the Food Network Web site at http://www.foodtv.com. Traditional English meal suggestions include bouillon of forest mushrooms with oloroso sherry, whiskey-braised apple sauce and plum pudding.

Kwanzaa, a weeklong celebration that pays tribute to African American heritage, starts today with its variety of tantalizing, culturally diverse meals on the Food Network site. They range from black-eyed pea fritter, ginger rum-glazed ham and chicken and andouille smoked sausage gumbo.

For those indulging over New Year’s, crisp wild-rice cakes with golden caviar and sour creme, oysters rockefeller and black-eyed pea jambalaya make up a few suggestions at the Internet site — which also fields questions from users like: “How is corned beef and pastrami made?” and “Are scallops muscles?”

Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com


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