It's that time of year again. I'm blasting Handel's Messiah (the Ambrosian Singers w/ the English Chamber Orchestra version) and lining up ingredients for my papi's turrón. I don't have a recipe, or rather his recipe, but then he never used one because it is basically this: eggs, almonds and honey. While I would love to use honey from Spain—chestnut from Asturias or Orange Blossom from the Pyrenees, I am buying from the Chicago Honey Co-op (www.chicagohoneycoop.com), an urban apiary just a few miles west of me that provides job training in one of the city's most impoverished neighborhoods. The Marcona almonds, of course, came from over the ocean.
In keeping with tradition, when the hymn "All we like Sheep have gone astray" comes on, I will laugh. For years, I heard the opening line as "Oh we like Sheep" (repeated a few times) which my younger self, being ignorant about musical phrasing, understood it as a simple declarative statement: Oh We like Sheep! Yes, and lambs, they are so cute and cuddly and fuzzy. Yes, I like sheep too! The above photo is from the commemorative plaque on the sidewalk in front of Casa Mira in Madrid that I took this summer. The historic shop is famous for its sweet treats, in particular turrón. In the weeks before Christmas, the shop will be overflowing with the stuff....as will my kitchen counter.