Country Kitchen: Create a Family Christmas Cookbook

Country Kitchen: Create a Family Christmas Cookbook
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Collecting family recipes provides for interesting experiences, particularly if the recipes have stories associated with them. In addition to establishing a general family collection, you can develop those within various categories.
These can be grouped according to the type of food (desserts, mail meal dishes, breads, appetizers, etc.). Or you can organize them according to the occasion when served, such as various holidays, vacations, trips to other regions.

As you enjoy the holiday season, why not collect recipes for a Family Christmas Cookbook. In addition to gathering recipes from your immediate family and relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents), see if you can acquire the stories that accompany them.

Types of Recipes

*What did your family serve on Christmas Eve? My dad always wanted oyster stew.

*Did you serve special dishes for Christmas dinner? My mother-in-law liked to make a gelatin cranberry salad and green bean/mushroom soup casserole along with whatever meat she cooked.

*Did you have New Year's Eve celebrations? Mother made a punch of ginger ale and grape juice. We toasted the New Year at midnight with it.

*Are there special cookies that you baked during the holiday season? Did you give them as gifts? Hang them on the tree? We always liked to make cut-out cookies and decorate them with colored sugar.

*Did you have dinner at relatives' homes or go to parties with friends? Do any foods come to mind that were served then?

Aunt Pat, one of my mom's good friends, came from the South. She made sweet potato casserole and pecan pie, dishes that were new to our family.

Special Dishware Associated With Holidays

Along with the foods that bring memories, we often see dishware that reminds us of family meal times and parties. Perhaps we have them as part of our collection, handed down through the years.

*My mother-in-law had a stemmed glass fruit bowl that belonged to her grandmother. On festive occasions she set this on the dining table filled with fruit. Then she'd tell us about going to her grandmother's and seeing the bowl of fruit there.

*My mother had a glass bread plate with sheaves of wheat as its design. Around the border were these words, "Give us this day...Our daily bread." We used this only for "company" occasions when guests joined us for a meal.

*My aunt had green Depression glass serving bowls, pickle and jelly dishes. I thought they were lovely on her dinner table. I often try to find some that bring back memories.

*The gilded sugar and creamer set given my grandparents on their 50th wedding anniversary was used only on holidays and when we had guests. They looked lovely on a Christmas dinner table. There also was a gilded salt and pepper set to match.

PENUCHE FUDGE - My dad especially liked this candy. We often made it for him as a treat for Christmas and for his birthday on January 25. We also cooked this in the large black iron skillet on the wood cookstove.

Simmer 1 pound brown sugar and 1/2 cup milk, stirring constantly. (Father liked the dark brown sugar best.) Remove from heat when the candy "spins a thread" dripped from the spoon.

Stir in butter the "size of a walnut", 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts. Beat until the fudge begins to sugar on the side of the pan. Pour into a buttered dish. We often used a glass pie plate. Mark off in squares while warm.

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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