Saturday, December 10

Christmas Food Memories

Many of my Christmas memories revolve around food. When I was small, my bedroom was just off the kitchen, and my mother used to store the Christmas cookies she made under my bed, maybe because my room was so cold. She had several containers of different kinds of cookies, jam-jams, chocolate chip, ginger snaps, and I don’t know what else. (I may have pilfered a few cookies when Mom wasn’t looking.) There was also homemade fruitcake under my bed. She would carefully wrap the loaves in brown paper and tie them with string, letting the flavors blend for a few weeks. I know a lot of people hate fruitcake, but I love it to this day. Of course, not every fruitcake out there is as good as my mom’s.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/twilightlove8040/3142780280/in/dateposted/ 
My grandmother made strudel for Christmas every year. Well, Granny along with her crack team of assistants. My mom and my aunts would assemble at her tiny house. First, they’d unfold her dining room table to its full length, adding all the leaves. Then Granny made a phyllo pastry – don’t ask me how because I don’t have a clue. Granny would carefully stretch and pull that pastry, working it with her hands until it was long enough to cover the whole table. Then the aunts would sprinkle the whole thing with apple slices, sugar, raisins, and dots of butter, and together they’d roll it up jellyroll style. Granny would cut it into pieces and distribute it among her helpers. The taste of Granny’s strudel is something I’ll never forget. It was unbelievably flaky and supernaturally delicious. I wish I’d gotten that recipe from her.

Picture by Laura17776
Fast forward many years. My mother-in-law was an excellent cook. Every Christmas when my kids were small, we’d pack up and make the drive to my in-laws' house. She would cook for days in preparation of our visit. Pies, cookies, turkey and all the trimmings. But the thing I looked forward to every year were the homemade perogies. Sautéed in butter and onions, these little dumplings filled with potatoes and cheese probably weren’t great for my waistline, but they were so tasty! Another favorite was her homemade dinner buns. Whenever she asked what she could bring when she visited, we’d always say “Bring the buns!”

Picture by Leah McGill
All these memories are making me hungry. Do you have a favorite Christmas food memory? How about your favorite Christmas food?

And in the spirit of Christmas giving, I'm giving away some ecopies of my contemporary romance RESCUE ME. Just comment for your chance to win!


10 comments:

  1. Oh, man, they all sound so good. Except for the fruitcake. I love to smell them, especially during the aging process, but eating them is a different story.

    A favorite food memory for me is divinity fudge. I was never, ever a popular kid, but on the holidays that I took divinity to school for parties, I was princess for an hour! My mom made it wonderfully, and so does my sister. I...er...don't make it at all.

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    1. You know, I'm not sure I know what divinity fudge is. Is it the type of fudge where you have to cook until it comes to a boil, and you have to use a candy thermometer and be super careful about how long you cook it? If it is, no, I don't make that either! But I still like fruitcake, especially the moist kind that's full of fruit and nuts like my mom made. It another thing I don't make either.

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  2. Sounds delicious. Love cookies of all types

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    1. Same here, Phyllis! Thanks for commenting.

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  3. the smell of homemade rolls rising - is there anything better than freshly rising/baking bread? mmmmmmmm

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    1. Oh yes. The smell of baking bread takes me right back to childhood. So yummy!

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  4. I used to love fruitcake too -- my dad made it most years, and it was in a different league, almost a different world, than what often passes for fruitcake! Very close to that is a steamed "plum pudding" I used to make once in a while, served hot with hard sauce. Mmmmm.

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    1. My Mom used to make some kind of pudding that had to be steamed to cook. I think it was made mostly of grated carrots, raisins and maybe candied fruit. I don't remember what she called it, but I'm pretty sure there were no plums involved! What I really remember is the sauce. So delicious! Thanks for stopping by with your memories, Mary!

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  5. Cinnamon bread and lemon cookies, chicken and roasted veggies are all favorites for me. Not to mention eggplant parmigiana, lasagne and meatballs. I have such wonderful memories of my mother and mother-in-law serving these dishes and the great pleasure of showing my daughters how to make them today.

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    1. Those sound amazing, Charlotte, and so different from the usual Christmas foods like turkey and stuffing. For the last couple of years, my daughter and I have gotten together to bake cookies and it's a time I treasure, so I know how you feel. Have a great Christmas!

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