The night before we had our first Ladies Meeting for this fall - and I took advantage of the fact it was a salad night and fixed my mother-in-law's Tomato Aspic Salad. That recipe is over sixty years old, probably is not politically correct, but has such a wonderful crunch with a creamy texture that I really enjoy it. Only two other family members do, so I really appreciate our ladies!
What prompted this blog was a discussion with our pastor and other couples at the table about "Traditional Foods." There are vast differences between those in our northern states from our southern favorites.
For us, New Years calls for black-eyes peas. Whether simply factory canned, from an aunt's garden or a specific recipe such as Hoppin' John, eating twelve on New Years Day is supposed to guarantee twelve months' of good luck. Pastor's wife's family grew up on the tradition of cabbage for New Years, also designed for good luck. That holds for Cajun cooking, too. Their family fixed both. Recently their son asked why - the answer was "Tradition!" He says he's starting a new tradition - one that does not include either menu item.
That brought to mind a Christmas dinner tradition we have with First Daughter and her husband. As the family grew, grandchildren married and family commitments had us scattering, it seem for a decade or so that every-other Christmas, there our two couples for Christmas dinner. The first time, we set a menu that has become our traditional Christmas dinner:
Shrimp cocktail - we all love those with the red sauce spiked with great horseradishAs soon as that menu became part of the conversation, several people said they would sign up for that tradition!
Baked potato - and all the trimmings: cheese, bacon, sour cream, chives (not all use all, though)
Tossed or wedge salad - nothing special, just our favorite dressings
Well risen yeast rolls (light and fluffy!)
Ribeye steaks - grilled to perfection, cooked to order - and Son-in-Law is good at that!
Dessert - individual preferences - cheesecake or peach crisp
Our family is in the process of setting up plans for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of those will be a group of close to thirty, with turkey and ham/or roast, cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, fruit salad (maybe even the Tomato Aspic!), mashed potatoes, giblet gravy (yes, it will have giblets and boiled eggs - one lady I know does NOT include those), deviled eggs, pea salad - and those are the ones we can count on plus surprises every year!
Now -- aren't you ready to plan holiday menus?