Ask Rufus: The Meals of Christmas

Ask Rufus The Foods of Christmas
Rufus Ward

As Christmas approaches, probably the most widespread vacation matters is all the time meals.

My recollections of Christmas are of home made chocolate fudge and Christmas stockings full of apples and oranges, almonds and peppermint sweet canes. Starting within the late Fifties we all the time had a Greenburg smoked turkey from Tyler, Texas, for Christmas dinner, and this 12 months’s arrived Saturday. It’s unusual to assume that getting the identical model of turkey yearly for greater than 60 years is a household custom, however then they’re that good. Once I was rising up, we had bite-size cheese biscuits with a toasted pecan on prime. In newer years, cheese straws and milk punch turned household staples.

As I started fascinated about the meals of Christmas, I made a decision to name buddies across the space and ask about their Christmas meals recollections or traditions. I requested what meals or beverage they related to Christmas or what recollections did sure Christmas meals awaken.

Joe Boggess associates pralines with Christmas as a result of his grandmother would make them then. He has her recipe and now he makes them yearly.

Diann Powell of West Level thinks of cookies and plum pudding. She mentioned Christmas for her additionally requires “Merry Mincemeat Cookies,” that are shortbread cookies with mincemeat filling, and molasses cookies with peppermint icing.

Tom Bowens of Okolona mentioned pondering of Christmas meals brings to thoughts peppermint sticks, oranges and apples, in addition to the fantastic cake his mom would all the time make for Christmas when he was rising up.

Carolyn Burns Kaye can’t consider Christmas with out pondering of how on Christmas Eve her father would all the time carry house a picket crate of oranges, after which on Christmas Day her mom would make orange and coconut Ambrosia.

Hope Oakes, who lives in Columbus however grew up in Houston, remembers, “Mother’s hen and dressing, arms down. Our household is large, so she made a double batch. She hated sage so she by no means put it in her dressing. I will likely be making it in her honor subsequent week.”

Jenny Holleman Harkness, who grew up in Columbus however lives in Starkville, mentioned she all the time has freshly made cranberry and orange relish at Christmas.

Deborah Johnson mentioned Christmas Eve is her Christmas meal and she or he fixes “seven fishes,” an Italian customized that she bought into when she lived in Italy. Nonetheless, her children who grew up in San Francisco favor tamales.

Gail Legal guidelines mentioned it wouldn’t look like Christmas with out fruitcake and eggnog.

Robert White likes to start out Christmas morning with Eggs Benedict served with Bloody Marys or mimosas.

Beau Easterling didn’t hesitate in responding that it’s cranberry sauce he thinks of at Christmas as Beth (his spouse) “makes the most effective cranberry sauce ever!”

Chuck Youthful mentioned Christmas dinner in his household was all the time highlighted by his mom’s turkey dressing. Her nickname was BB, and the dressing was all the time referred to as BB’s Dressing.

Luke Boer additionally all the time thinks of his mom’s dressing at Christmas. He mentioned they referred to as it stuffing and it was a household affair to make it. They might begin by toasting two loves of white bread after which the entire household would pitch in breaking the toasted bread into little items for the stuffing.

I discovered it attention-grabbing that in spending a day with individuals speaking about meals related to Christmas nobody had any “visions of sugar plums dancing of their heads.” Everybody, although, had a fond Christmas reminiscence or custom related to meals. To delve into what was served at Christmas way back in Columbus, I pulled out an previous Columbus cookbook. It had belonged to Sallie Billups, who lived at Snowdoun. The e-book was printed in 1902 and written within the entrance was “Sallie P Billups November 12, 1903.”

The cookbook supplied a information for a correct Christmas Day menu. The desk ought to first be embellished with holly and mistletoe. Solutions for breakfast had been oranges, germia, broiled salt mackerel, chipped beef on toast, baked potatoes, griddle desserts, muffins and occasional.

Dinner may embrace oysters on half shell, cream hen soup, boiled whitefish, sauce Maitre d’ Resort, roast goose, apple sauce, boiled potatoes, mashed turnips, candy potatoes, Christmas plum pudding, lemon ice, squash pie, quince jelly, delicate cake, salted almonds, fruit and occasional.

The ideas for supper had been chilly roast goose, oyster patties, coleslaw, charlotte russe, popovers and currant jelly.

Taking a look at different previous cookbooks, I discovered that most of the previous recipes embrace oysters and several other individuals had additionally talked about oyster dressing. Previous Columbus newspapers additionally make clear the meals of the Christmas season.

In December 1849 M.W. Peterson’s Oyster Saloon and Restaurant, which was on Market Avenue in Columbus, marketed their invoice of fare. It included oysters, lobster, sardines, ham and eggs, venison, beef steak, pork chops and turtle soup. Sweet was additionally supplied on the market.

Oysters turned a very fashionable dish served in Columbus and the time at which they’d arrive recent began a meals custom that has survived at this time in oyster dressing and different vacation fare. November was usually the month when the Tombigbee turned excessive sufficient for steamboats to journey upstream from Cellular to Columbus. It was additionally when it turned cool sufficient that the boats may carry sacks of oysters upriver from Cellular. With oysters arriving in late November and December they turned a standard Thanksgiving and Christmas meals alongside the river. By the late 1800s the amount of oysters introduced into Columbus by steamboat was so massive that the town started utilizing the discarded oyster shells to fill potholes within the metropolis streets.

All of us have recollections of Christmases previous and infrequently Christmas traditions we nonetheless observe. That additionally applies to Christmas meals and drinks. And a few nearly 200 12 months previous Columbus Christmas traditions even started with oysters and steamboats on the Tombigbee River.

Rufus Ward is a neighborhood historian.

Rufus Ward is a Columbus native a neighborhood historian. E-mail your questions on native historical past to Rufus at [email protected]

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