Holiday Food Traditions by Lynn Cahoon

For me, the holidays are defined by the food. Easter is ham day. (And my mom’s bunny cake.) Memorial Day starts the run of summer barbeques.  Halloween is about the candy, and maybe a caramel apple. And Thanksgiving is about the turkey.

So what about Christmas, what food memories do I bring to the December holiday? All of them. My family was a ham and turkey family.  Along with mashed potatoes, frozen corn, pumpkin pies, and tons of cookies and candy.  Friends would drop off large boxes of candies, tins of cookies, and more.

Memories around food surround me. My mom used to buy what’s now called truffles, but we just called them chocolates, in bulk. I loved the cherry ones. But you didn’t know what flavor you would get. So I scratched the bottom of each candy to see the color until I found a red one. It used to drive my mom crazy.

My sister brought sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin pie one year. I thought she was crazy. Why, oh, why would you change something that was so yummy? I don’t remember even tasting it. I didn’t, and still l don’t, like change. But I’m getting better. I took our pie and turned it into a pumpkin marble cheesecake. I married someone who was just as unhappy with change as I used to be. But my mother in law, loved it.

Food. Its purpose is to keep us alive. To make us grow and become strong. Yet, for so many people, including me, food brings back memories of times and people long gone from our lives. From the china and glassware we use, to the manner in which the food is prepared, it’s all important. Holiday food is a ritual. We get up early to put the turkey in the oven while we’re watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. Or we eat pie after dinner, even when we’re so stuffed from our dinner, because we need to taste Aunt Gracie’s new creation.

I’ve been told I write about food a lot. And it’s true. But I write about life. And relationships. And family and friends. And all of those topics require food to make them real.  Or at least they do for me. So if you’re looking for a peek into my food philosophy, check out one of my books.

But if you come away hungry, don’t blame me. Happy holidays.


Staying in character can be murder when Cat Latimer and the members of her writers’ retreat head for a ghost town . . .

Cat and the members of her writers’ retreat have just arrived in Outlaw, Colorado, an “Old West” tourist town complete with inhabitants dressed up as famous figures from history. But this authentic slice of Americana takes a murderous turn when a college student masquerading as a 19th-century saloon girl becomes history herself.

Was she the intended target? Or did she take a hit meant for someone else? With a cast of suspects to choose from—including some notorious gunslingers and the sleazy town founders—Cat must unhorse the real culprit before a real-life ghost story is given a killer twist . . .

Praise for Lynn Cahoon

“Better get your flashlight handy, A Story to Kill will keep you reading all night.” —Laura Bradford, author of the Amish Mysteries

“Lynn Cahoon has created an absorbing, good fun mystery in Mission to Murder.” —Fresh Fiction