Friday, December 25, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas Past

We've had some busy but really nice days leading up to Christmas! Amongst the chaos of last-minute shopping, various appointments, some "challenging" toddler moments, keeping up with family traditions and creating a few new ones of our own ... we've managed to pull-through and get it all done.

Before I get started I really want to take a moment and talk about my Grandpa Joe. We were blessed with amazing grandparents; whom we had in our lives for a very long time! But ... the Christmas season always belonged to my Grandpa Joe. The Christmas season started in our home when Grandpa would pull into a snow-covered driveway with a car loaded with oranges, grapefruits, apples, home-made coffee bread, a VERY large turkey and various baking supplies. Using his old, green, handwritten notebook from World War II (where he served as an Army cook) ... the whirlwind began. First the fruit salad then homemade pies (one year he baked 22 pies!) ... next came Grandpa's amazing pork sausage stuffing (that took a full day to make). Finally after a full 3 days of cooking ... Grandpa would rise at the crack of dawn and start the turkey ... the smell was our alarm clock. Reflecting back; Grandpa gave our family one of the greatest gifts ... it was the gift of his time and of sharing something he loved ... and most of all ... my siblings and I now make and share these recipes with our own families.

So ... with Grandpa's picture on the counter, and a few tears, we went to work ...

Before Grandpa Joe passed away I typed out his recipes and built a cookbook for each family member. I scanned the original pages from his notebook and placed them in our cookbook alongside the typed version.

With the exception for the pork sausage and spices, every other ingredient is ground in his recipe. Because my Kitchen Aid and the meat-grinder attachment are not dual-voltage and can't be used here in Germany ... Mike and Sue found a hand grinder and we ground everything by hand!

Kelty's first job in the kitchen was helping me with the grinder.

Ok ... there is A LOT to grind ... so I put Mikey to work!

In addition to Grandpa's stuffing I made his fruit salad, pie crust and pumpkin pie. Regrettably I don't have any pictures of the rest!

A new tradition ... we made cinnamon-applesauce ornaments! I'll dedicate a post to this in the near future. It was so easy and fun ... and they smell amazing!

I traced Kelty's hand for one ornament.

I made cinnamon-applesauce "spacers" for my handmade orange, bay leaf and cinnamon garlands.

Just as in every Christmas past ... my dad read us "Twas The Night Before Christmas". This has been a tradition in our family since before I even remember. Even when we are separated by oceans we never miss a Christmas Eve without my dad reading us this story .. and now he gets to read it to his grandchildren too! Thanks Dad for giving us this gift of tradition.

I could go on forever about the love and tradition that surrounded our childhood (and adult) Christmases ... my mom decorating every room in the house, the manger scene under our Christmas Tree, and all of us standing at the top of the stairs in the morning waiting for our dad to call us down ... but you have to leave me something to blog about next year!

Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE that you made that book of your grandfather's recipes! That's SO wonderful! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!


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