There are a couple of things that I need around this time of year that I call my “Holiday Essentials”. One of them is really good food, the other is a really good laugh. Normally, you know ahead of time what type of form the food is going to come in, but you never know what type of form the laughter is going to come in, which is great because it’s like having an extra Christmas present! This year, my good laugh came in the form of Marie Osmond.
I was mindlessly flipping through the channels the other day and came across some cable channel for women, and there on my t.v. screen was Marie Osmond hosting her own talk show (the laughter could have stopped right there). Anyway, her talk show has the usual boring format that every other daytime talk show has: in the first segment, there’s some little known personality who sits on the couch and talks about themselves, then in the second segment, some expert comes on to talk about some other unimportant subject like child-safety, or they show you how to make crafty stuff or talk about food, which is the part I like best! And when the talk show is second-rate, like this one was, the entertainment value increases. You’d think it would be the opposite, but it isn’t. Most people don’t realize how much value there is in crappy television and since I happen to be an expert, I know what I’m talking about! Marie happens to make the best kind of crappy daytime talk show host too because she’s really not cut out for it since she’s the type of person who doesn’t like it when the focus is taken off of her.
So in the second segment of her show, she had some woman on who was a “lifestyle expert” *snicker*, whatever that means, and she was talking about what gifts you should bring to the hostess of a party, and set on the table before them, was all this crappy food stuff from Hickory Farms. So as the lifestyle expert was droning on about the products, Marie got bored because the focus was now on her guest and not her, and she kept eyeing the samples of food that were on the table. So she reaches over and starts to eat the food while completely tuning out the lifestyle expert, and she started commenting on how tasty it was while her guest was trying to talk her way through the segment. You could tell that her guest tried to hide her slight irritation that Marie was ignoring her and eating the samples instead, which was great! I just loved that Marie stuffed food in her face on national television after doing all those weight loss ads too, and I thought to myself “This is great t.v.!” The only thing that would make it better, would be if the lifestyle expert got so pissed off at Marie for ignoring her, that she slapped the snacks right out of Marie’s greasy fingers and called her a selfish bitch! Then Marie would slap her across the face and they’d get into a hair-pulling girl fight with Hickory Farms cheese and sausage slices flying everywhere! Now that’s what I would call a “lifestyle expert”!
Anyway, my second holiday essential is Panettone. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing out on one of the best imported Christmas foods out there! In case you didn’t know, Panettone is Italian fruit cake, but this fruitcake doesn’t resemble crappy American fruitcake in the slightest. You know the one: the sticky, ugly mess that has giant chunks of neon-colored dried fruit and weighs in at ten pounds! Panettone fruitcake is light and airy and delicate! The texture is like a cross between a cake and a sweet, eggy bread. It’s made with fresh butter and eggs, and it’s dotted with pieces of plump, sweet raisins, chewy candied orange peel, and bright green flecks of citron, and when you open the package, a sweet, floral fragrance hits your nose, it’s spectacular! I have one every year, and when I say I have one, I eat the entire thing by myself! That is, unless I have some unruly guest staying with me that I have to feed.
Anyway, if you get one, and I think you should, make sure you get one that’s made in Milan specifically, since that’s where they originated (like myself) and where the best come from (like myself). You should also check the ingredients to see that it’s made with butter, not margarine or oils since that makes a huge difference in quality. I buy mine from Gelson’s Supermarket since they carry a couple of really good brands. I usually get the most expensive one. Normally that doesn’t always dictate quality, I mean, just look at Marie Osmond, but the one I got was excellent! Plan on spending around $25 bucks. That may sound a little pricey for a fruitcake, but just think about how much money you can save if you cancel your HBO subscription and just watch all the great regular t.v. programming out there!