What are the things that make us think of the holidays? Each culture has its idea of traditional deliciousness for its celebrations. Whether you are making Christmas Puddings in England, Cinnamon Rolls in the U.S., Posole in the Southwest, Clementine Cake in Israel or Kerala for breaking your Ramadan fast, Each family has a signature dish. My family, which originated in Texas and New Mexico always has Posole, a delicious Mexican/Southwestern stew for Christmas Eve. My sister lived in Albuquerque for 13 years next door to Mrs.Candelaria who taught her this wonderful, comforting dish. We work on Christmas Eve at The Spice Diva, so we have to plan ahead. Even though our lives are busy, with a little planning, we will keep our families comforted and well-fed through the holidays. We start about a week before, shopping for the essential ingredient, dried hominy. Hominy is usually found in Mexican grocery stores like Amigo or Food Lion which has a surprisingly stunning array of Mexican specialties. Hopefully, we have Hatch or some green chilies in the freezer. If not, we may substitute a combination of Poblano and Jalapeño or Serrano chilies. Blister the chili skins and remove along with the stems and seeds Just like dried beans, dried hominy must be soaked overnight. To keep your dish from being overtaken by starchiness, cook the hominy separately and add it to the dish once it’s finished. Roast a pork shoulder or chicken in the oven for the protein in your dish. I like to make quite a few slits in the meat and slip a sliver of garlic in each. A gentle rub of salt, pepper, and cumin will finish spicing your roast. Once it is done and cooled, shred the meat. Sauté the onions, more garlic, and green chilies until limp and just starting to brown. Put everything into the crockpot, add chicken or vegetable stock and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Try to finish it one day and reheat it to eat it the next. The best accompaniments are tamales, chips, and con queso. Of course, Chili Con Queso is always made from Velveeta “cheese” and Ro-Tel. Feliz Navidad!