Christmas Cooking

   Written by on December 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm

During this time of year, especially, many cooks are trying new recipes for holiday parties and family gatherings.  If other families are like mine, they return home for the tried and true home-cooking that they remember when living at home with Mama.

community-newsWe’ve got one son that loves sweet potato pie and one son that lives for egg custard pie.  All of our children, grandchildren and great-grands seem to love my baked apples.  That is the easiest dish to make so when I know that they are all coming to eat, I always try to have the baked apples on hand.

The idea for this article arose while sorting through a few of my late mother’s cookbooks.  My parents liked to cook and both were very good cooks. My father could fry up some delicious finger-licking chicken and make gravy while my mother baked her scrumptious homemade biscuits. Yum-yum! I can almost taste them!  Dad loved to read cookbooks and I think this reporter inherited that trait.  Cookbooks I’ve got!

A very special recipe book that I treasure goes back to the 1940’s.  It has a black fabric covering with tiny red and white flowers.  The cover is really worn from use. According to the forward, the recipes were contributions by well-known women of Charlotte County.  All of the recipes have been tested and all are good.  What more could one ask for in a cookbook? Many of the recipes have been handed down in county families through generations and many are names of people I remember when I was a child.

I liked the recipes because the cooks describe how to put ingredients together for a novice.  Under the directions for cooking a wild turkey are the following instructions: First, get a husband who can kill a wild turkey. Try to catch him in his youth, meaning both the man and the turkey! Both are easier to handle while young.

I found the recipe for Candied Sweet Potatoes that was handed down to me by my Mom. It’s quite easy but I think that simple recipes are the best.  The directions say to cut boiled sweet potatoes into slices and place in a Pyrex dish.  Sprinkle potatoes with white sugar and dot with butter.  Mix ½ cup of water and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Pour over potatoes and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Go lighter on the sugar or use Splenda for the less calorie version.  One can top the potatoes with large marshmallows during the final ten minutes of cooking, if desired.

In recent years, this reporter has used the late Inez Tharpe’s recipe for sweet potatoes that she shared with her friends:

Ingredients:  3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes, 1 cup white sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 eggs, well-beaten, and 1 stick margarine (softened)

Mix all ingredients and put in casserole dish.  Then, combine 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour and 1/3 stick of margarine (softened).  Crumble these together and sprinkle over the potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serves 6-8.  Her recipe also calls for 1 cup of chopped pecans on top of the brown sugar mixture but I omit that because it’s rich enough!  I also believe that my original recipe for preparing sweet potatoes contains fewer calories but both are delicious!

As I continued to read the old recipe book, I realized that many of the things that I like to cook originated from this book.  The recipes that my mother used the most from this book were passed down to me!

Now that I have re-discovered this precious heirloom of a cookbook, I’m excitedly checking out all of the tried and true recipes.  I don’t believe that I will ever try Roasted Old Hare or Roasted Quail but I will have the directions at my fingertips if I decide to do it!

Meanwhile, it is almost Christmas so start cooking!!!!

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