Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 2 ~ Holiday Foods

Our feasts were very traditional, and routine. Christmas Eve dinner was always at my maternal grandfather's home and Christmas was always at our own house.

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and a vegetable were the basics of our meals. My grandmother would make sweet potatoes, or were they yams? Didn't matter my family never ate them. She also tended to have a relish dish and honey and jam available for the rolls. Green bean casserole I don't think was invented yet! Did we have peas? Green beans? Mixed veggies? She always baked her own pies and whipped the whipped cream.

My mother served almost the exact same food on Christmas, minus the yams and relish dish. I do not even remember what was for dessert at home. Strange, I love dessert. I am sure it must have been a pie or whatever whoever brought! Mom would experiment with vegetable and rice dishes, adding nuts or juice or something else. Some were good and let's just say others weren't on my favorites list.

By far the best dish of the meal was my moms stuffing/dressing. I could sit and eat that all by itself if given the chance. She made it with sausage, which I also do. She made a jell-o salad of some sort to go with dinner. After I moved out on my own I became the jell-o maker. Usually it was a jell-o with mandarin oranges or some sort of a cranberry jell-o.

Probably the most unusual food of our holiday is my sister in laws Costa Rican tamales! They are tradition. I can not explain them, they are nothing like Mexican tamales! They are much bigger and thicker and wrapped in banana leaves. Everything but the kitchen sink are thrown in them I think. My daughter and I want to learn how to make them and have offered to go each year to help. Unfortunately they tend to do them during the work week and neither of us have been able to get off work. They usually need all the help they can get too. Even though I have only helped once several years ago, we always get about eight of them. This year I am not working and am hoping I can finally make the tamale party! Even though the tamales themselves are absolutely fantastic, I have to admit they just are not the same if Salsa Lizano isn't added on top when you eat them. This is what makes them perfect. I will try to share a photo of one of these tamales when we get them this year.

Traditionally now, I have Christmas dinner since my mother passed away. I can easily tell you my menu if it is to be a turkey dinner. Turkey, and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, wild rice or broccoli/cheese rice, green or broccoli salad, jell-o salad, cranberry muffins and dinner rolls. Almost always an apple pie and another pie which changes yearly. If we don't have turkey, we will have a smoked ham (sometimes a smoked ham and a turkey) or a Prime Rib, which would include home made macaroni and cheese, salad, veggies and rolls.

My menu has become less tradition actually, and I kind of like it that way. You never know what to expect! Bon Appetite!

Thank you for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!



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