Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Calendar: Day 2 - Holiday Foods

Unfortunately, I don't really remember much about special holiday foods from when I was young. Is that odd? I guess you could say I'm a girl who eats to live rather than the other way around, so food just doesn't stand out in my memory.

However, I do remember a couple of things. My grandmothers were both fantastic cooks (aren't they all?). Watching them cook was fascinating to me; how could they make so many things at one time? It was amazing to see everything come together in perfect precision (I've since learned that this is NOT an easy thing to do!).

My maternal grandmother, "Mimi," made the best stuffing with her turkey. I think this was my favoriate part of the meal. She never did give me the recipe, but I've managed to find one that comes very close. It's the only stuffing I'll make, and thankfully it does not contain any "gizzards."

Mimi (and my mother too, I think) also made a strange, white confection called Divinity. I seem to remember it melted in your mouth and had a sugary taste. I haven't had it in years.

My paternal grandmother, Reba, was an expert pie-maker. She made many different types, but her pumpkin pies were always my favorite. I have fond memories of standing in her kitchen "helping" her bake cookies.

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I haven't had to prepare a big holiday meal in a few years, thanks to family members who've invited us to dinner, but when I do, I typically prepare the same things each time. Turkey and stuffing, "bourbon" cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls... the whole deal. I'm a terrible piemaker (and more of a cake person), so I'll usually buy a pie and maybe a cheesecake for dessert. If I'm feeling very adventurous, I'll make the cheesecake myself.

I used to do a lot of baking at Christmastime. When we were particulary short on funds, we would give baked goods as gifts (unfortunately, they cost a bundle to mail). I found a great recipe for fudge that you can make in your microwave in about 5 minutes, so we enjoy a lot of fudge. My daughter has discovered chocolate this year, so I don't imagine it will last long in our household.

I also love to bake quick breads (banana, date, pumpkin), and sometimes I'll toss in some rum balls for fun.

My daughter loves to watch me cook; she even goes into her play kitchen to try to "cook like Mommy." I'm thinking this might be the year that I let her "help" me make some holiday treats. Do you think 3.5 is too young to start?

This post is the second in the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" series. To learn more, or to join in the fun, please visit Geneabloggers.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

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2 comments:

Tapgenie said...

3.5 is a great age to start! My nearly 4 year old often helps me cook. He can measure out (where the measurements don't matter too much), tip and pour, mix, brush tops with a pastry brush, decorate... and of course lick the spoon at the end! You should definately get her involved!

Elizabeth said...

I think you might be right about that, Tapgenie. My daughter was totally fascinated last night watching me make dinner, and she really, really wanted to help! I guess it depends on their level of interest, rather than age. I'll definitely let her help me make some holiday treats this season.

Thanks for offering your advice!