Yep, it's the time of year when memories come flooding back into our active thoughts, and how we deal with those memories often determines our moods for the holiday season. I'll admit, I've had both extremes this year, some that reduced me to tears and others that made we laugh. But most of them are somewhere in between, nostalgic and sweet.
My memory trip actually began on the second stop of my recent trip. While I was at her home in Allen, my niece said she had something that I might want. She pulled out a red and black, heavy satin-type material garment on a hanger. It was a robe, and I recognized it, but I couldn't put my finger of just what or who..... I'm sure my fact was full of confusion and questions, and she said, "It was your father's." OH, of course!!!
It is now what one thinks of when your say "robe." It is more or less what I think of when I think of the term "smoking jacket." It is dressy, and if it were women's clothing, it would be in the class of lingerie. It is something that my dad wore just occasionally. And yes, I remembered and what memories it brought back!
My dad was a handsome man with broad shoulders, a solid Dutch-German build enhanced by the physical labor of being a farmer. He had a full head of wavy deep-auburn hair, although I can only remember him with a lot of grey mixed into it. (I have a lock of his hair that my mom saved from their early years, and it is beautiful deep red-brown in a wide ringlet, about the size of a quarter.) When he put on that robe, oh my, did he look nice!
When my niece (she is ST who occasionally comments here) asked me if I would like to have it, I was speechless. My mind raced, wondering why she wasn't keeping it, but then I realized I didn't care! Of course I would love to have it! She mentioned that I could probably wear it, and yes, I can. But I don't. I've slipped it on a few times, loving the feel of it, reveling in the joy of knowing that it probably still holds a few remnants of my dad in the close weave of the material. It is is almost perfect condition. I hope to keep it that way. But I will, from time to time, take it out and let it warm me, my physical and emotional self, for a while.
When I began going through the Christmas decorations I found a huge selection of stockings. There were some old, old ones we had used at one time or another, and a set of about twenty simple knits that we used during the last fifteen or so years. We had name tags that we made for each person who spent a Christmas with us, and they went into a holder that was pinned to each stocking. Then, after the holiday, I always took a simple glass ball ornament and wrote that person's name on it. These went onto the tree the following year, so that even if that person never came back at Christmas again, he/she was with us.
In the box of stockings were the name tags. As I looked through them I found these.......
It kinda took my breath away. Mom and Dad spent almost every Christmas with us for twenty or more years. When they were no longer able to be with us, it was just odd to not have them there any more. that was about eleven years ago, and they passed on in 2000. This made me realize that this is the first year I've had out the decorations since they passed away.
Glenn's name tag was in with the others and I thought about how much he used to love Christmas. He liked being able to do everything possible for the people he loved. Christmas was a real event in his life until the time his mother passed away in 1991. She had also spent most Christmas' with us, and when she died, all our children were grown. We had my parents with us for a few more years, and the children and grandchildren who were close enough to be present were, but it was just never the same for him.
Yesterday when I was getting ready for the potluck, I got ready to make a special Christmas recipe that has a long, long history in my family. This recipe came from my maternal gramma, Nellie. I don't know where she got it, but I imagine that it was passed down in her family as so many recipes used to be. Gramma was born in 1879. Just imagine how old this recipe has the potential of being!
The recipe is for Egg Tarts. For those of you from Canada, they are similar to your Butter Tarts, but we have not put nuts or raisins in them. They are the most yummy, wonderful food I've ever eaten! The filling is made of some simple ingredients ... butter, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla ... and when cooked just right, it becomes a thick, sweet syrup. OH...MY...GAWD.
These tarts are so rich that I knew I couldn't make a batch just for me ... well, I could, but I'd start out the new year at approximately 495 pounds!!! So making them for the dinner seemed perfect. I began mixing up all the ingredients and looked for the muffin tins. Without success. AAARRRGGGHHHHH! I either sold them in the garage sale by accident or something similar! Now, I can not believe that I would even consider letting them go! If nothing else, I would realize that once a year I must make Egg Tarts!!
I did find two pans for mini tarts, so I regrouped and started making the crusts to fit the tiny ones. It worked fine, but it is not ideal, as there is not enough of the filling-to-crust ratio to make it taste right. The Tarts were good, but not great.
Next time I'm in town, I must buy some regular muffin tins.
One of the coolest things about these potlucks is that it is making me get out the recipe book I put together with all the family favorites and whip up recipes that I've forgotten about. Last night I took the tarts and two appetizers, a cheese log and a cheese spread. Both were old, old favorites that I haven't made in years, and they were both hits last night.
So. I think my question to you for today is this ...... What are your favorite holiday foods? Tell us why they are or what the history behind it is.
Tag, you're it!!