After a long sabbatical, I plan to post new snippets with some holiday recipes from around the world. May your upcoming holiday preparations be interesting and fun. Stay happy and healthy until I write again.
For this post I don’t have to go far from home to remind me of the holiday season, of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m reminded of one day in the 1980’s when I toured the home of Lydia Maria Childs’ grandparents who had owned an old Georgian Colonial on the other side of the Mystic River in Medford, Massachusetts in the U.S.A. I had saved up enough money for a down payment on a house and Lydia Maria Childs’ grandparents old home was for sale. I toured the house with my husband and I was extremely excited by the prospect of owning such a wonderful piece of American history. I said yes to the real estate agents offer of a purchase price of only $42,000. Unfortunately, after adding up the costs of owning and maintaining such a large structure, we decided against the purchase and moved on to other options. At a later date, Tufts University bought the home for a huge sum and the house remains on the U.S. Trust for Historic Preservations’ registered historic homes list.
Lydia Maria Child was a author, abolitionist and activist who was born into a prominent New England family in Medford, Massachusetts. She was schooled in her early years in Medford Schools. She would often visit her grandparents at their home and wrote this song as an adult. Sometimes when the snow is deep and the air is chill, you can almost see the her sleigh coming across the old Craddock Bridge in Medford Square.
By Lydia Maria Child
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house we go:
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood,
and straight trough the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood,
when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, ‘o, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for every one.’
Over the river, and through the wood,
now Grandmothers cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!
May your holidays be as filled with joy as the young Lydia Maria Childs’ was on that long ago Thanksgiving Day.
In this salad I use the original beets as it lends a festive air to this Mexican style salad. If you want to use this for a dessert instead, leave the beets out. Fresh beets are best, but for ease of preparation canned beets may be used if thoroughly drained. Fresh fruit is preferred. Sugar is the only sweet added or it may also be served with a thinned mayonnaise. I like the following combination, but you can substitute a fruit ingredient for some other that you prefer.
1 3/4 cups orange sections or mandarin orange sections
1 cup apples, unpeeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 3/4 cups pineapple chunks
1 cup sliced bananas
3/4 cups roughly chopped unsalted peanuts
seeds from 1 medium pomegranate
1 cups cooked sliced or diced beets
1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts
Mix all fruit pieces together. Top with pomegranate seeds and chopped nuts
Sprinkle with superfine sugar (or granulated) or serve with thinned mayonnaise.
This makes a wonderful dessert or dinner starter served before a holiday meal. It is usually served as part of the Christmas Eve meal in some parts of the world.
Having been raised in the land of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving feast here in New England, I know firsthand that we take our selection of a Thanksgiving turkey very seriously. It is that time of year again when the markets and supermarkets stock turkeys of all brands and varieties making selection a daunting task. I don’t have room in a small post to list everything there is to know about selecting, thawing and preparing a turkey dinner, but I’ll try to break down the process into several smaller writings.
To those unfamiliar with the process of selecting and handling poultry, especially large American bred turkeys that can weigh over 24 pounds, I will simply give you this link to the United States Department of Agricultures’ fact sheets on the safe handling of turkey and poultry products:
Here’s my familys recipe for roast turkey which is the way it was done by my great-aunt Julie.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahreheit.
15 – 16 lb. thawed turkey
Aunt Julies’ stuffing (or of your choice to fill cavity of turkey)
1 1/2 sticks margarine or butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons sage (dried is fine)
1 Tablespoon thyme (dried o.k.)
1 Tablespoon rosemary (dried o.k.)
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 can chicken broth (16 ounces)
1 1/2 cups water
Remove giblet packet and neck from inside of cavity of turkey. Sometimes the neck is loose inside the neck cavity. Thoroughly wash turkey with cold water and place on counter on a platter and dry it completely with clean cloth or paper towels. Do not let the raw turkey touch surfaces of counter. Wash up behind yourself and periodically wash your hands with hot soapy water.
Stuff the turkey with stuffing mixture and place on raised roasting rack in a deep sided large roasting pan. Baste the turkey with melted butter or margarine, then sprinkle liberally with dried herbs, salt and pepper. Pour broth and water into the bottom of the pan and cover with heavy duty aluminum foil, tenting slightly in the middle away from the top of turkey. Place the stuffed turkey in the oven on the lowest oven rack and roast for 5 1/2 – 6 hours. About 40 minute before roasting is complete, uncover the turkey so that it may brown. Cook for additional 40 minutes until turkey is golden. Remove turkey from oven and check internal temperature with meat thermometer. The thermometer should read 165 degrees when place in the thickest part of the thigh and, also, it should measure 165 degrees when placed in the thickest part of the breast. Stuffing, likewise should be thoroughly done at 165 degrees. Juices at leg joint should run clear. Let stand for 30 minutes. Carve and serve.
Serves 12 with leftovers
My hopes are that you have a very happy Thanksgiving season.
Aunt Julie’s Stuffing recipe follows in my next post.
Thank you for following my blog.
Remembrance Day falls this year in Canada on November 11th. Some provinces and territories celebrate it, also, on November 12th. My Dad hails from Newfoundland, and at times he made what he called scrappy pie to celebrate it. It is on Remembrance Day there that Canadians remember all of the fallen soldiers from past wars.
My great-uncle Charles was killed in Belgium in the first World War and is buried where he was killed defending his fallen comrades. His name is called out and his memory is saluted by a contingent of military members at Parliament every year on this day. For this I simply give you my father’s Americanized version of Scrappy Pie (or Newfoundland Seafood Pie):
Potato topping ingredients: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup fresh mashed potato, 4 ounces butter, 1 tablespoon milk, 2 Tablespoons dried breadcrumbs.
Filling: 16 ounces whitefish (cod, haddock, whiting or your choice), large cooked shrimp (8 ounces), 1 small onion- chopped fine, 1 cup frozen peas, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped fine, zest of a lemon – grated, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 2 cups milk.
Sift flour into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix this with the mashed potato until thoroughly blended. Blend in the butter, then draw into a dough, adding a bit of water until dough sticks together. Wrap dough in pastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
Prepare filling by cutting fish into chucks and putting them into a 10 inch pie pan or baking dish. Mix in the seafood, onions, peas, parsley and zest. Blend the cornstarch with a bit of milk in a bowl. Heat the remaining milk almost to boiling and stir it into the cornstarch mixture. Return mixture to pan and stir until the mixture thickens. Add seasoning and pour over fish filling. Cool for 20 minutes. Bring oven to 400F (200C).
Roll out the dough between sheets of wax paper to overlap to of pie plate. Remove the top of the waxed paper and use the bottom sheet to help position dough on top of seafood mixture.
Press dough around edges of pan and clean up the edges. Slash center of pie with small knife to vent steam. Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle liberally with plain breadcrumbs.
Put pie on a baking sheet Bake for 10 minutes – then drop temperature to 350F (180C). Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
My father cooked this for us when we were very young and it’s the closest I can come to the original recipe. I sought out Scrappy Pie recipes everywhere to no avail, so if someone could forward me more from the great nation of Canada, I would greatly appreciate it.
May you stay safe and sound on Remembrance Day. And to my remaining Newfoundland cousins, may the sea treat you right and the cod keep running.
In the United States, Veterans Day falls on November 11th this year. I am offering this little essay for your enjoyment. It was written by me when I was just a girl of twelve years old in response to a national contest sponsered by the Lodge of Elks in my hometown. I won the contest in the girls’ division and was very proud to have attended a ceremony where the essay was read by a group of veterans. The premise of the contest was to write a piece about ‘Old Glory‘ and how it related to veterans who fought in our many conflicts. I don’t know how appropriate it is to reprint here, but the sentiment then was heartfelt, and it remains that way to me today.
WHAT OLD GLORY MEANS TO ME
To me Old Glory means just what its famous name says, a flaming glory. It symbolizes the honor, pride, trust and independence of the United State of America. Old Glory is not just a flag. It’s more than that. It’s more than a piece of red, white and blue cloth made up of stars and stripes. Maybe it’s a beginning of a deserved liberty and feedom, and a country where the freedoms of press, speech, and worship have a chance to thrive. It describes a democracy in which no man shall suffer discrimination because of his color or race. To me it means the freedom of all people to choose religion, jobs, and politics.
Old Glory stands for a nation where no man shall be a slave, denied the education and support that every human being positively must have.
In my heart, it means a free land, in which dignity and authority are maintained to the fullest and best of the country’s ability. This great flag symbolizes our growing and striding country as a whole, a world power seeking peace which stands ready to defend the rights desired and cherished by every single person and American. It’s a nation in which important officials of the United States are voted on by the people and are responsible to the people and is not a dictatorship. Under a dictatorship our country might fall as other have done in past wars. It may also, to me, stand for the bloody battles of past conflicts. It means honor for the men and women who have sufffered in order to hold this United States together in time of crisis. Old Glory means much to me. It is the symbol of my country.
There is much more to this little essay that is lost in the 40 years since it was written and, of course, the conflicts in the Falklands, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others have taken place since that time. The sentiment was meant to honor our veterans, and I hope that this year you will not forget to remember the sacrifices that those who have served in our armed forces have made for us. These are men and woman who realize what their flag means to them. Please try to give our vets the honor they truly deserve for having given their all to their country.
Have a good Veterans Day.
Today brings a normalization of the weather here in New England after the monster hurriane, Sandy, hit our shores. We give thanks to God that we were spared, in my hometown, the devastation that struck the coast farther south of here, especially in the states of New York and New Jersey. Our prayers go out to those whose lives were disastrously affected by the hurricane everywhere along the eastern seaboard.
Today, for everyone who is able to celebrate this Halloween holiday with some resemblance of normalcy, I simply give you an recipe from an old church bulletin. I’m unsure where it originated from, but it was being used and copied somewhere around the 1960’s and has been made in my family to celebrate different holidays since that time. It is very good to use at children’s costume parties.
3 1/2 Tablespoons raspberry gelatin
3/4 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Beat egg whites and salt on high speed with electric mixer until light and foamy. Gradually add gelatin and sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks. Mix until sugar is totally dissolved or kisses will be sticky. Add the vinegar. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon onto lined, greased baking sheet. Bake kisses at 250 degrees for 25 minutes and then turn off the oven, leaving them in oven for additional 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and remove immediately to wire baking rack to cool.
Makes 6 dozen.
I hope you find these simple to make, and please have a safe, happy Halloween night.