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Christmas changes when you’re head cook

Serving up traditions (and beef!) on Christmas

With the recent snow, the tune “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” keeps entering my mind. I really do love Christmas. I love celebrating the birth of Jesus and getting together with family and friends. Christmas is much different for me now than it was when I was a little girl. For one, I grew up in town, and Christmas meant a break from school, spending time with friends and family, and eating lots of Christmas goodies! Now as an adult with my own children, Christmas takes on a whole new meaning.

As kid I didn’t realize how much time and preparation went into getting ready for a holiday! The Christmas goodies I loved to eat sure take a lot of time to make and aren’t near as kind to my waist line as they once were! Shopping for presents has its ups and downs too. I like to shop local when I can; there is just something nostalgic about being out and about Christmas shopping. I try hard to not be that person who is in the store at closing time on Christmas Eve, still searching for the perfect present! I have done that many times and it isn’t fun. There have been years when I was done shopping before December even got here, but as my kids get older and schedules get crazier, I seem to find myself back in that last-minute madness.

Another thing on my Christmas to-do list is meal prep. We had a pretty standard meal growing up, turkey, mashed potatoes, strawberry pretzel salad, seven-layer lettuce salad, green bean casserole, and of course pie for desert.

Now as the chief cook in my household the decision is mine, what to make, or not to make. Imagine my surprise when I learned not everyone loves strawberry pretzel salad.

Depending on my guest list, the menu can change, but one thing that doesn’t change is the protein source. If we are having guests for dinner, there will be beef on my table. As a rancher, it is just something I do. Why beef? Believe it or not, prime rib is fairly easy to make, once you get over the fear of cooking it. It is delicious and nutritious, and I usually don’t have many left overs to figure out what to do with it in the following days. I get my turkey fix at Thanksgiving and my ham fix at Easter, so I figure it is only right to give beef the spotlight at Christmas.

Whatever you choose to put on your plate this holiday season, make sure to take a moment and give thanks to the many farmers and ranchers who worked hard all year long to provide you with this food to feed your family and friends.

From my pasture to your plate, have a blessed Christmas!

Jolyn and her family at Christmas

Jolyn Wasem is the District 9 representative on the Promotion and Education Committee. Jolyn and her husband, Chris, have a commercial purebred Red Angus operation and raise crops for feed. Jolyn is a 4-H leader, a member of the N.D. Cattlewomen and Common Ground. She got involved in agriculture advocacy because she feels children are our future, “and we need to make sure they are getting accurate information about farming and ranching so our legacy can continue.”