Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Calendar - December 2 - Holiday Foods

This post is number 2 in a series of 24 for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 23th Day of Christmas, I'm supposed to talk about Holiday Foods

Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

One of the best traditions during the holidays happens in the kitchen.  Food binds us together as human beings.  Handed down recipes, memories of dinners of Christmas Past, baking, cooking ~ these are the things that bring us together as family.

Growing up, there were two things we could count on ~ turkey at Thanksgiving and ham at Christmas.  I cooked a Thanksgiving meal this year that would have made John Howland proud.  I had to pick John Howland as he was an ancestor's brother, no other Pilgrim would do.  The one thing I could not remember, though, was how my mother made dressing.  I vaguely remember toasting a whole loaf of bread and there was cornbread, but other than that, I have no memory of her recipe.  Stove-Top Stuffing took the place of that wonderful homemade concoction.  Her hams, to my child-like mind, were the things of legend.  Cloves, pineapple, scored and doused with a mixture of brown sugar and mustard.  The accompanying dishes were the usual, but that ham!  I believe it helped foster my life-long love affair with pork products.

Traditions in my family haven't strayed too far from what I grew up with.  The only different thing we do is Christmas.  Our large meal comes at breakfast.  Biscuits, gravy, bacon, eggs, pancakes, etc.  This was borne of necessity as my first husband and I divorced when the children were young.  He would take them to visit his family after they opened gifts that morning.  I wanted to cook for them so our traditional Christmas breakfast was born.

So, this year, as you gather with family and friends, ask your mother or grandmother about their traditions.  Ask your father or grandfather what they remember.  I bet one of the things remembered will be food.

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