How we’re making the most of this holiday season

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Photo by Zach Bauman

One of my family’s most cherished holiday traditions comes from my brother-in-law, who is Turkish, and brought the tradition over from Istanbul. It’s now something we all look forward to this time of year.

Turkey has an elaborate breakfast ritual, a meal with dozens of dishes that takes a couple hours to eat, accompanied by a mountain of bazlama bread and lots of political debate.

It’s quite a feat to stage an authentic Turkish feast with scratched black olives and sheep’s milk cheese in the hardscrabble Kentucky town where he and my sister work as college professors, so they have to have a big order overnighted from a Turkish grocer at
exorbitant expense.

There will be no family Turkish breakfast this year. Like so many of you, my family isn’t traveling to gather for the holidays because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s another painful concession in a year that’s known so many of them.

But, I’m thankful that I did get to immerse myself in those memories at one of the city’s newest restaurants. Clay & Fire (815 W. 17 St., KCMO, 816-569-5533) in the Westside neighborhood offers a traditional Turkish breakfast, or kahvalti, prepared by a gifted local chef who has been learning the recipes through Skype sessions. Tucking into a cozy corner of the Clay & Fire’s second floor and dipping into a hot platter of menemen, it felt a little like the family meal I’m missing this year.

You’ll find a profile of Clay & Fire in our cover package about the thirty-six best breakfast dishes in the city. We worked hard to compile this list, and the thing I’m most happy about is the diversity of dishes you’ll find, from mofongo to chilaquiles, with authentic bagels and crepes for good measure. This town has a lot more than biscuits and gravy—though we also have really good biscuits and gravy.

Also in this issue, you’ll find some festive stories to help you celebrate the holidays this year. That includes a guide to outdoor ice rinks, a feature about Hallmark’s holiday card library and three Kansas and Missouri towns with unique Christmas traditions.

If you find yourself with a few quiet moments this month, be sure to spend some time with the stunning imagery photographer Shawn Brackbill captured at an iconic small-town Kansas photo lab. The story was shot entirely on Kodak film, and has a nostalgic, dreamlike quality that I just can’t get enough of.

This has been a long and hard year for so many people in our community, but to me it feels like there’s a sliver of dawn breaking on the horizon. Stay cozy, make the best of it and we’ll see you in January.

Categories: From the Editor