What's For Dinner #88 - The Mad Rush Edition - December 2022

We’re in the last gasp of the year and I got very verbose while writing this up yesterday, so I hope you’ll indulge me.

For many, it’s the mad rush towards the Hanukkah and Christmas holidays: braving the malls, buying presents, setting up the Christmas tree, stringing lights, hanging ornaments…keeping the cats away from the decorated tree (because you KNOW they’re going to climb it for the classic “cat dumps Christmas tree” pictures!).


Then there’s the wrapping of presents - with the cats wanting to help!


And those of you with dogs aren’t immune - Christmas cookies for Santa that are cooling on the counter are often at the perfect height for a quick grab-and-chomp!



In any event, it’s also the time of year when, during our rushing about, we are hopefully thinking of others who are less fortunate. Little things can do a lot for others during the holidays when many can’t travel to be with their families or are alone.

Go ahead and wave someone through as they’re trying to make a turn in front of you through a busy intersection.
Make donations to your favorite charities (although it’s always good to do this throughout the year!)
Smile at the harried retail workers and give them a heartfelt thanks.
Drop some change into the red buckets outside your local stores.
Volunteer at food pantries or shelters.
If you can, give blood (again, always good to do so throughout the year!)
Look in on your elderly neighbors - bake some cookies for them (if the dog didn’t get them all!) or just spend time chatting with them.

OK, now to the food - holiday parties will start to gear up - there will be appetizers (a.k.a. Scooby Snacks) and corresponding drinkage, office pot-lucks and Yankee Swaps with silly gifts, neighborhood progressive parties, fancier office parties being held. Plus there’s menu planning for family meals - do you do a big meal on Christmas Eve or keep it small because there will be a big meal on Christmas Day? Or are you deciding to get away from it all and heading for the islands for a tropical getaway while everyone else is dealing with snow?

Regardless what you do - wishing everyone a safe and happy month as we wind down 2022.


We’ve had restaurant meals on the last four days, so keen to get back in the kitchen. Frikadeller for dinner:

Your mention of charity donations is timely. For some while, we’ve donated monthly to a local food related charity, which started up in the early weeks of Covid. Three times a week, they make and deliver 200 hot meals to folk in need. But, just this morning, they’ve announced that they are going to have to close at the end of the month, due to a lack of funding - they are simply not getting enough regular donations. I suppose it’s a matter of folk tightening their own belts.


Ohhh, so sorry to hear this! That’s going to be tough for those who count on those meals. :frowning:

And the frikadeller sounds very good!


And I do… but what I don’t like is the stores that want you to round up to the next dollar and donate that change.
Recently, I went to my local hardware store, as I needed to replace a water valve. When I went to check out, I specifically pushed the “no” button – not to donate to the charity. When I got home, I checked my receipt and they added it anyway. I know I should have checked my receipt in the store, but I needed to get the water turned back on and was flustered with that.
After getting the water back on, I thought about going back up there, but couldn’t justify the cost of the gasoline to drive back to the store to recoup the forced donation.
Going forward, I’m not leaving this store until I carefully check my receipt for these erroneous donations.

1 Like

I like that our supermarket does it, and I usually do round up. It’s for the local food bank at the moment, but the charities change over the months, and I don’t always donate. Now I am curious to see if they still take the donation even if I hit “no.” TBH, I never checked before!


If it were my local food bank, I would gladly donate as I do throughout the year. They do good work!!
But it was for a charity that I was not familiar with.

1 Like

Well that’s f’ed up. I suppose you could bring your receipt back in next time you have to visit the store.

1 Like

Yes… I thought about that. I also thought about just boycotting that store. Home Depot and Lowe’s are much farther away, but they don’t add “forced” donations to your bill.

Yeah, if you pressed “NO”, they shouldn’t add it anyway. But I would mention it to them the next time you’re there. I’d say that’s illegal for them to do that.

And I sometimes round up if I know/like the charity (CVS does this as well). But sometimes I press “no” as well.

Eh. I’d rather support a locally owned business than either of the big box stores, but you do you.


I think we’ll probably move our donation to the local food bank. It’s just plain wrong that, here in the leafy middle class suburbs, we need a food bank. One of the local churches also runs a cafe but it’s announced that it’s regarding it as a community “warm space” where folk who are cutting back on heating at home can go and sit for a while without any need to buy anything. I could do a full rant about this happening in the world’s 6th biggest economy but I’d be way over the “no politics” rule. Nuff said.


And I tried… but I got kicked in the teeth for it.

1 Like

Agreed - I have one in my town as well, where I wouldn’t have expected to see it. But the need is almost everywhere, especially where you least expect it.

Pre-COVID, I dropped off a trunkful of donation items, and there were guests of the food pantry choosing items there as well, and they looked very thankful to have the choices that were being provided to them. And I don’t just donate food items - things like toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, and hygiene items are also welcomed.


Yes.There have been some reports in the British press of women not feeling able to go to work because they’ve been unable to afford to buy tampons. Just awful.


I work at a University and the numbers of our students who need food assistance has always been sadly high, but is off the charts this year. I did donate there. We are putting together gift baskets for the cleaning staff too that have food items, cash, etc.

We also got appeals on our neighborhood group from the area schools’ Parent Teacher Associations for food donations for children who would normally get a subsidized meal in the school but who won’t get that when the schools are closed for vacations. The PTA puts together non perishable foods and packaged snacks and sends each child home with a bag full, to tide them over the break.


There might be a harmless explanation? Maybe just give them a call to discuss.

1 Like

I made Ali Slagle’s sausage with gnocchi over greens with pepperoncini vinaigrette. I added oregano to the dressing and thinly sliced onion, minced garlic, and artichoke hearts to the topping. It was OK - probably not a repeat. I’m going to mix leftover gnocchi mixture with red sauce and cheese and bake until bubbly.


Salad greens with apples, walnuts and a cider vinaigrette. Sweet potato oven fries.


Burnin the candle at both ends.


Local-ish “Cheesy Bavarian” sausages tonight, which I absolutely loved - juicy and salty. BF paired them with buttery boiled potatoes and steamed cabbage with a creamy mustard sauce - basically a roux and three kinds of mustard - pretty tasty!