Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Memories - Part 3

Hello tis me again. During the years we spent in Montreal, Christmas days were usually filled to the brim. Presents to be opened, then in the afternoon, the aunts and uncles came to visit and then supper! Oh my goodness, the big supper - turkey with stuffing, potatoes, carrots and we had to have mashed turnips! (I didn't like turnips when I was a child.) And then the desserts, Christmas cake and a variety of home made cookies. As the kids grew older, we all helped out with the desserts as these were made ahead of time and frozen or in the case of the Christmas cake, well wrapped and stored in tins in the fridge. Mom's Christmas cake was a very dark fruit cake filled with a lot of cut-up fruit (both fresh as well as dried), nuts, a bit of flour and a touch of brandy. These cakes were made in October/November and Dad helped in the preparation. All the fruit and nuts were cut up and left to soak overnight in juice (pineapple, orange) and the brandy, this was done to give it some lovely flavours. Now here's the part where Dad helps, he would add more brandy when Mom wasn't looking!! And oh yes, he had to stir the mixture. This recipe yielded 3 Christmas cakes and was very tasty (so I was told, I don't like fruit cake). If you would like the recipe, leave me a comment and after Christmas I can post it for you. And the cookies - did I mention I was the original cookie monster! (lol) Mom and I would make at least 6 different types of cookies including shortbread and these were then frozen but I have to be honest - some of them didn't make it to Christmas because yours truly would eat some directly out of the freezer - they were so good!! I had 2 favourites - Frying Pan cookies and peanut covered cake cookies (not sure of the name). The frying pan cookies are made from dates (and other ingredients) that you cook in a frying pan. They are so easy to do and so very tasty but they are covered in coconut and guess who is now allergic to coconut! Oh well, I really didn't like them all that much (I guess). As for the other cookie, I am not sure what it is called. Mom would make a thin white cake (about an inch thick) and let it sit out overnight to dry out a bit, the next day she would cut the cake into 1 inch cubes. She then made an icing (I think it was a seven minute icing) which was used to cover the entire cube - so we now have a cake cube covered in icing (as well as very sticky fingers) and then we would drop this cube into crushed peanuts (the kind with the red skin) and roll the cube until it was entirely covered in peanuts. This was so yummy, my mouth is drooling as I write! I am also laughing because I can see my Mom and I sitting at the kitchen table giggling while trying to make these cookies and both of us with sticky fingers and of course one of us would get an itchy nose... yup, never failed. Ah memories.... well the final memory that I want to share with you is about our Christmas stockings. Mom always filled them with a tangerine (boring), maybe an apple (again boring), the fruit was put back into the fridge very quickly.... okay so we were kids - where's the chocolate!! While we dug deeper into the stockings, we would find other little goodies, maybe a tiny whistle, some crayons, a new colouring book and yes, at long last - chocolate! One year, I remember Dad had a kazoo in his stocking (yes, we all had stockings - they were red with white trim and each one had our name on them - I still have mine). Dad's kazoo was really neat, it had a train at the end of the kazoo and when you blew into the kazoo, not only would you get music but the train would go around the track. This silly little toy that Mom probably got at the Five and Dime (equivalent to the dollar store today) kept the entire family busy all day long. We would take turns trying to see who kept the train going the fastest or the longest time - looking back, it just proves we were full of hot air. To all of you, I wish you a wonderful time this holiday season, may it be filled with love and laughter. Merry Christmas to you and yours, love Louise

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