‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Several creatures were stirring, but none was a mouse;
Wrapping gifts in recycled paper with care,
Christine wondered how her St. Nick could have a more sustainable flair.

The kids streamed movies on devices in their beds,
Maybe visions less commercial should dance in their heads?
Even with me in my upcycled shirt apron and Andy in his vintage Red Sox cap,
It’s still pretty obvious we can work harder to stem the tide of unnecessary crap.

Out under the snow the leaves might be rotting into organic matter
Giving shelter to critters and eschewing the leaf blower’s chatter
We compost food scraps with a curbside service in a flash,
But could certainly do more to curtail our household trash.

With New Year’s upon us, I recommit to what I know,
About giving new luster to objects we already have in tow.
Like turning a domed cake stand on its ear,
To serve as a punch bowl of holiday cheer.

With a little ingenuity, so lively and quick,
What I have on hand can be hacked to do the trick.
No need for an ice bucket to keep cold the champagne,
When filling a pitcher with ice water will do just the same.

Use YOGURT! Use VINEGAR! Use MISO and ALLSPICE to have like flavors linger!
To the bottom of the spice rack! To the back of the fridge!
I won’t dash away! dash away! Until I’ve used up it all!


I’ll employ half measures of dry herbs for fresh ones so to the store I won’t fly,
Because in long-simmered winter stews, no one will ever ask why.
I’ll get to that top shelf to see what is there,
And will spend some time figuring out with which ingredients they will pair.

And then, perhaps, in a twinkling, I will see there a gadget
Totally forgotten, but still able to work magic.
It might be a Bundt pan, and turning it around,
I’ll see it can be repurposed to a roast a chicken, just about four pounds.

I’ll stop to study the setting on my toaster oven and learn,
I can cross from my wish list the new fruit dehydrator for which I yearned.
In the jumble of tools I’ve flung into the utensil drawer,
I’ll locate the melon baller I can use as an apple corer.

My eyes – how they’ll twinkle! My dimples how merry!
When I find that forgotten jar of Luxardo cherries.
My droll little mouth will draw up like a bow,
When I fashion a festive cocktail into which they can go.

A baguette heel lay on the counter hard and frail,
I’ll set it in the holiday cookie tin to keep the treats from going stale.
I have a broad face and a little round belly,
But that’s due, in part, to my stash of homemade local fruit jelly.

I am now happy and pumped up, an invigored green-eating elf,
That other cooks might find funny, in spite of themselves.
With a wink of my eye and a twist of my pen,
I hope to keep dishing up ideas on how to be sustainable again and again.


I’ll try not to be too wordy, but will get straight to work,
To fill readers’ heads with helpful hints without being a sanctimonious jerk,
Laying my fingers on the keyboard of my PC,
I give you a nod, understanding that living green ain’t always easy.

Please know that I will spring to your aid, if you give me a whistle,
Otherwise, I’ll keep highlighting sustainable food topics that won’t make you bristle.
On this holiday eve as I sit with my family out of sight,
I wish a Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Spiced Maine Hot Toddy

Makes 1 cocktail

4 ounces spiced apple kombucha or hard cider


1.5 ounces Maine bourbon

2 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 dehydrated apple round

1 cinnamon stick

1 Luxardo cherry (optional)

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the kombucha or hard cider. Remove from the heat and add the bourbon, honey and lemon juice. Stir until the honey dissolves. Pour into a mug or heatproof glass. Garnish with the apple round, cinnamon stick and cherry, if using.

Local foods advocate Christine Burns Rudalevige is the editor of Edible Maine magazine and the author of “Green Plate Special,” both a column about eating sustainably in the Portland Press Herald and the name of her 2017 cookbook. She can be contacted at: cburns1227@gmail.com

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