December 3 - Holiday Foods
It seems to me that the most unusual thing about our Christmas dinner was that we always had both ham and turkey. My dad wouldn’t eat ‘fowl’, he’d even try to be out while it was cooking, but the ham was for him, with lots of mustard and apple sauce. I think my mum must have liked turkey though I couldn’t have been paying attention, but otherwise, why cook both? (I still think the best things about turkey are first, the stuffing, second, the cranberries, and third, the day after when you get to eat all the leftovers!)
One of my dad’s Christmas presents most years was a jar of pickled walnuts; until later years, we bought these on Woodward’s Food Floor in downtown Vancouver. His mother, who was born in England, used to make her own pickled walnuts. I’m afraid no one else in the family ever had the knack or the will to make these.
I always thought they looked and tasted horrible, but there they were every Christmas in a nice crystal dish.
We had fruit cake and Christmas pudding for dessert, with lots of hard sauce. One Christmas my mother tried to flame the pudding at the table using some alcohol. She had a lot of trouble getting it going. It fizzled out quickly, my grandmother, the teetotaller, at the same time breathing something like ‘serves you right’.
My children don’t like either fruitcake or pudding, alas. (Someone even gave me a mug that says “Make Love, Not Fruitcake”. Really!) While my mother was alive, we still had Christmas pudding, but now it’s only for me. I do have a friend who’s been keeping me happy with fruitcake up till now, but this year even she isn’t making any. The world is slowly changing. Now we often have pie or cheesecake with ice cream (and sherbet for my son).