Pepe Asked About Christmas Food…
Dateline: 1960s in the Greater Midwest
As recalled on December 17, 2010:
My maternal grandmother’s family always had the best Christmas day and evening feast and celebration. My cousins would come out of nowhere to have a chance to share food captained in the kitchen by my mother Margaret and Grandmother Virginia with help from my Great Aunt Vera.
Vera always brought the nutbread. Enough for 30-40. I was always allergic to nuts and never tried it but without exception, everyone raved about it and Uncle Frank and Aunt Vera could hardly attend any function without her baking her loaves.
My Mom Peggy spent hours before Christmas making plum puddings. That had nuts in it too and so I never ate it but it sure smelled good. Many years, she made plum puddings as Christmas gifts for her 10 or 24 best friends in town. Peggy’s white hard sauce was tasty and often included a lot of liquor that I got accustommed to as a small child.
For years, my family cooked the bird with the same roaster. It was only used twice a year – Thanksgiving and Christmas. Grandma and Mom had recipes and cooking times down to a science. In addition to turkey, we had ham on Christmas, too.
What more can I tell you?
It was almost like magic that somehow the family would acquire pounds of frozen deveined Gulf shrimp to eat before dinner. The children could hardly wait for it to be served. At once the serving plate with cocktail sauce was put out on the living room coffee table, our elders reminded us about table manners even though we were not sitting at the dinner table.
I probably was more interested and curious than my siblings and cousins about the food. My vivid memories are not just about eating but what steps and care was taken to prepare, cook, and serve the Christmas and Thanksgiving meals. I suppose I could write a book about it…