The perfect gift is just a tradition away
In the run up to Christmas we can all become obsessed with the perfect gift for those we hold dear, yet the gifts that are remembered are the ones that came from the heart.
My treasured memories and possessions include the stuffed ornaments that are not perfectly stitched that were made for me by a child, some paper snowflakes, a Christmas card with a thoughtful letter, the cookies and sweets that my friends give me, as well as the thoughtful kindnesses of the years gone by.
The Christmas Eve feast after mass in our household was a cultural mystery. As with most Canadians it was a blend of old and new – heritage influences that merged traditions, as well as new ideas. The staples were a tourtière, the turkey, the salads and then Grandma Herron’s ‘Irish’ fruitcake or Grandma Bessie’s Christmas pudding. No offense was taken when the pudding prevailed. It was luxurious. It would be set alight with a wee bit of brandy, then served with a dab of ice cream and a decadent rum sauce. Grandma would have replaced the ice cream with a dab of a sweet hard sauce, but it was ‘our way.’
For some reason Bessie’s pudding was a bit different each year. Always good, but she, like most cooks of her era, used what she had the most of to make this delicacy. I remember carrot and turnip flavors but I also remember the fruit and the raisins. Walking into the kitchen and smelling the pudding as it steamed was in itself an experience. The real challenge, however, was standing beside her and trying to quantify the ingredients. Pinch of that, a tea cup of this, yikes, how would one ever replicate her creativity?
Her recipe was for a huge gathering, hence now, as much as I so love it, I no longer make it as it would be wasteful. Grandma would not approve of waste, but I can still have a special pudding as the dear ones at Grace United Church will make that a reality for me and you. The culinary artists who are part of that congregation will make a one-pound pudding for those of us who still remember that joy. They will gift wrap as well. I am sure that will fit someone on your list. So for a mere $12, you can have this indulgence by calling Linda at 902-467-3729.
Perhaps you are wondering about the ‘Irish’ fruitcake? Well, some of you may remember what was called in reality ‘war cake.’ In war times, eggs, butter, and milk were rationed. Creative cooks discovered an easy and economical recipe for making a cake, thus, it was given the name. You would boil: 2 cups water, 2 cups raisins; 1 cup light molasses; 1 cup sugar; 2/3 cup shortening. After it cooled you would sift together