Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar: Holiday Foods

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories Joggers by GeneaBlogger

Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?
My memories about Christmas food seem to be identical to my memories about Thanksgiving food.  I have no special memories of Christmas Eve Food.  Christmas Day was the turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, mashed turnips, stuffing and canned cranberry sauce.  Of course pies for deserts. 

Since our grandparents liked in Nantucket Island Massachusetts we never had holiday dinners with them.  My parents didn't speak much about what they had growing up.
My Dad use to cook the turkey liver, gizzards and heart.  It was a treat to eat these while waiting for the big meal to finish cooking.  I don't know how long he cooked them, I only know he boiled them.  He would also cook the neck but he was the only one who would eat that.  I have tried to cook this items but some how it doesn't turn out right.  I can still see the little aluminum pot he use on our gas stove in New York in my mind's eye.  He used the same pot when we moved to Florida only we had an electric stove. 
Many of my favorite Holiday treats I learned about after I left home.  As a nurse many of my patients gave me gifts of food, such as Pumpkin Rolls.  One year one of my patients gave me this wonderful red tin of the thinnest ginger type cookies.  They were wonderful.  The other's ones I like but for the life of me can't remember their name are a anise flavored lacy flat type of cookie, usually sprinkled with power sugar.  I have had patients make those for me also.  They are wonderful.  It is a good thing I don't make them because I would eat them all. 
Wassail cooking on the stove
One tradition I learn from some friends when I first moved to Arizona was Hot Buttered Wassail.  I make it every year  and share some of it every year.  It is severed hot and it is smooth and tasty on a cold day. 

Hot Butter Wassail

12 oz Orange Juice Concentrate
12 0z Lemonade Concentrate
6 oz Pineapple Concentrate
8 quarts of water
6 cups of sugar
1 tsp ground cloves
2 TBSP of butter

Mix in a large pot and serve warm.

Hints: I cut the sugar to 4 cups. Since I don't have a pot big enough to hold 8 quarts plus, I only mix it with 4 quarts of water and dilute it again when I serve it. Since I can't find 6 oz Pineapple Concentrate anymore I use the whole 12 oz.
My other new tradition is to have a Christmas brunch since all my kids have many home to go visit it is easier to have a brunch and not cook the big turkey meal.  I do those do the night before casseroles and put them in the oven in the morning.
Here is one I tried last year. So here is the French Toast Casserole, or what is left of it this morning. I forgot to take a picture yesterday. It was good and liked by all.

Hawaiian Bread (large loaf)
8 oz. cream cheese
2½ cups milk or half and half (I used H&H)
¼ cup maple syrup
8 eggs
6 T melted butter
13 X 9 greased baking dish

Cut bread loaf in half. Cut one half into cubes leaving the other half aside. Place cubes into greased casserole dish.
Cube cream cheese and place on top of bread in casserole dish. Cube remaining bread and place on top of this.
Beat eggs, melted butter, milk and maple syrup in blender or with whisk. Pour on top of casserole ingredients. Smooth down with spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator overnight.
Next AM remove plastic wrap. Bake casserole at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes until top is golden brown. Serve with warmed maple syrup.

Here is another one I enjoy sorry no picture.

Egg Casserole(Make one day ahead & cook the morning of)   
1 lb.  pork sausage
1 Tbs.  butter
4-6 slices bread (enough to cover bottom of casserole dish)
1 cup  grated cheese
8-10 eggs
1 1/2 cup  milk
3/4 tsp.  dry mustard
1/2 bunch green onions (sliced)
1/3 cup  green pepper (diced)
1 cup  Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/4 cup  milk
1 cup  sliced mushrooms (optional)

Brown sausage, then set aside to cool.  Remove crust from bread.  Butter 9 x 13 casserole dish and line with bread.  Top bread with cheese and sausage.  Beat eggs and add milk, mustard, onions, and green peppers.  Pour over sausage and bread mixture.  Cover and refrigerate this portion over night. 

Next day:  Dilute soup with 1/4 cup  milk.  Pour this over top of casserole.  Sprinkle with sliced mushrooms and bake uncovered.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 ½ hour  I do my soup the night before and hold the mushrooms, I am the only one who would eat them.

Enjoy your Holiday foods!


  1. Mmmm - that hot butter wassail sounds wonderful! I am certainly added a lot of recipes to my holiday list this year!!

  2. Oooh, I wish I had had some of that wassail waiting for me when I got home from shopping today (it was quite cold out). I think we may just have to try making some of that stuff.