Feast logo

Polenta for Christmas

The simplest things in life

By Ioana AdrianaPublished 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 4 min read
Polenta for Christmas
Photo by Luke Besley on Unsplash

Christmas was a magical time in my childhood. As the weeks leading up to the big day passed by, I couldn't help but be in awe of my mother's cheerful spirit and determination to make everything perfect.

She embarked on a cleaning spree, leaving no corner of the house unchecked. It was as if she wanted the entire place to shine.

Living at the bottom of a small mountain, we would venture into the forest to pick out the perfect Christmas tree.

However, before that, there was a ritual of sacrificing animals. I remember the shock and trauma of entering a room and seeing my favourite animal's head placed on a plate. It was a tradition, but it was hard to come to terms with.

Then came the cooking. The house would come alive with colourful lights and the sweet aroma of freshly baked traditional sweets. I watched in amazement as my mother spent the entire day preparing all kind of delicious treats. In reality, we had to do more than observing and had to give a hand as well. Honestly, not always willingly.

Finally, Christmas Eve arrived. The whole family gathered around the table, which was adorned with sausages, bacon, and an array of traditional dishes. The sight and smell of the food was simply irresistible. Just as we were about to sit down and indulge in this feast, my father, with a mischievous grin under his moustache, had an idea.

“Your mom has done such an amazing job today. But I have an idea. Who fancies some 'mamaliga prajita cu zahar'? Fried polenta with sugar on top.

My brother and I immediately jumped up and down with excitement, eagerly shouting, "Me, me, me! I want some!"

I can still vividly recall the look on my mother's face when she heard this. She couldn't believe what she was hearing.

Determined, my father tucked a kitchen towel into his back pocket and set to work preparing the polenta. He sang and laughed, while my brother and I danced around him. It was like we were caught in a moment of magic, eagerly awaiting what for us was the most delicious dish in the world.

We ware watching him, carefully pouring the cornmeal flour into a large, heavy pot with boiling slightly salted water, whisking gently to prevent lumps from forming and than adding more little by little. The pot was filled with a creamy golden mixture, which he continued to swirl with a wooden spoon. When the polenta thickened, he spread it onto a large baking sheet, letting it cool until it solidified. Then he sliced it into thick rectangular pieces and fried them on the grill until they developed a golden crispy crust, to which he added a little bit of sugar, flipping to ensure both sides were crisp.

The kitchen was filled with the sizzling sound and the sweet aroma of caramelized sugar. Finally, the golden-brown polenta was ready. My father served it on a plate, generously sprinkling it with extra sugar.

With our first bites, a burst of flavour exploded in our mouths. The crispy exterior gave way to a soft and creamy interior, perfectly complemented by the sweetness of the sugar. We savoured each mouthful, relishing in the joy of this simple yet extraordinary dish.

I can close my eyes and still recall the enticing aroma, hear my father's voice, and see the smiles of pure joy on my brother's and my face.

Moments like this, so simple yet so precious, remain in my heart forever. They take me back to my childhood, to a time when our father was present and content. You see, he wasn't always at home due to his work. He would spend a lot of time away, sometimes even travelling abroad. Despite his intelligence, linguistic skills, and charisma, later in life, he succumbed to alcoholism, which eventually led my mother to leave him.

That's why these few happy and peaceful moments hold such significance for me.

Laughter filled the room as we shared stories and waited for Santa. It was a moment of pure happiness, a time when family came together to celebrate love and togetherness. And amidst the cheerfulness , my mother's eyes sparkled with pride and joy. Oh and on that day, he did remind us to also appreciate our mother’s work and later in life we understood that it wasn't just about the delicious food or the beautifully set table; it was about the love and dedication she poured into every dish and maybe he was trying to do the same in his own way.

fact or fiction

About the Creator

Ioana Adriana

Rediscovering the love for writing.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.