Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
Balance, people. Let's balance the slightly cynical challenge last week with one steadfastly in line with the spirit of the holidays. This week, create a dish or a meal that represents the person or people you want to celebrate with. There. How lovely!
The dish (or dishes) may be as literal as their favorite foods, or it may represent them in some more metaphoric way. But we want to hear your stories, and, of course, you may reserve the right to be cynical about your own loved ones.
Be sure to tag your post: SKC holiday loved ones
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and touchdown-to-interception ratio.
AND NOW, LAST WEEK'S WINNER!
Last week's contestants shared the cures for the holiday hosting that ailed them. And the winner is ...
Rebecca Farwell! For learning to forgive and forget, with the help of some vodka, chamomile and pomegranate juice.
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AND HOW ABOUT A HAND FOR OUR CATEGORY WINNERS?
In the Bathe Me in Hot Chocolate category:
Goudeau, for forgoing the booze and rocking the hot chocolate, magnificently: "Clearly I should get in on this alcoholic stuff that everyone is raving about. I tried. I can't get past the smell. I think 'hospital' with every tiny sip. For awhile I kept trying, but every time I'd get that little kid, 'disgusting food' whole body shake."
But really ... you need to see the photo of his hot chocolate
In the No Holiday Bar Recipe Is Complete Without Blenders, Ice Cream and Gunfire category (recipes included):
iamsurly, for the Gin Alexander battle to end all Gin Alexander battles: "In my branch of the Surly clan we save a bottle of the batch in the freezer all year as 'The Mother Batch' for the next year's holiday elixir. I believe that this year of frozen fermentation has borne some responsibility for a number of historical holiday fist fights, and at least one round of gunfire by a guest who didn't fully appreciate the potency of the Gin Alexander. Beginners need to pace themselves."
In the category of Hanukkah History and Migraine Medication (recipe included):
Fingerlakeswanderer, for celebrating the liberation of her people by reliving it in her brain: "Last night, as they did thousands of years ago, the Romans went back on their word, and again began beating the crap out of my eye sockets.
"A New Old-Fashioned Rum Toddy," he said. "Drink."
In the category of Prodigious Drinking:
Aunt Mabel, who here describes but one hour of her party: "5:30 p.m. Get the appetizers in the oven and toss the starter salads. Pop the champagne and open the first two bottles of wine brought by guests. Sample all for quality control purposes. Feed fussy baby and dab the yams he flings at a guest's shirt with magic eraser. Sparingly sip the white zinfandel my in-laws pour in my glass, previously used for shiraz."
And finally, in the category of Sweetness and Light:
aspasia411, whose incredibly dear girlhood Saint Lucia celebrations give way to mulled wine: "Glogg is especially delightful to serve to uptight prudent relatives who frown on carousing, but can’t really refuse an ethnic tradition. It is as good as the time my Swedish relatives visited, who spoke very little English, but brought and liberally toasted us with Aquavit. We had a wonderful, long, jovial dinner, with everyone talking loudly and not understanding a word, but accompanied by much festive laughter."