Tag Archives: Holidays

Pretentious Like Oprah; A Few Of My Favorite Things

Standard

The Original Diva Who Told You All About Her Favorite Things

While there is always a lot to be annoyed with and stressed out over during the holiday season, there are those aspects of Christmastime/Holidaytime that I truly look forward to every year. And, if Oprah Winfrey can hold her head high and publish lists of things she simply cannot live without and simultaneously assert that you shouldn’t either, why can’t I? 🙂 So here is my list…be it ever so humble…

FESTIVE CHAMPAGNE ON ORDINARY DAYS

Around Thanksgiving, I start to crave champagne, so I drink it all month instead of whatever else I’d normally drink like wine, beer, and the occasional shot of my beloved Jack Daniels. Hey, I gotta support my home state of Tennessee! 😉 Champagne is festive…it tickles your nose…and it feels fancy. And Korbel Brut is, hands down, the best lower priced champagne substitute on the market. Because, as all the year round fancy people will tell you, it’s not really champagne unless it comes from Champagne, France. But, truth be told, I’ve tried Dom–once. And I wasn’t convinced that it was any better than this.

FUNNY CHRISTMAS MOVIES

You know the ones…those Holiday themed gems that make you laugh every time, no matter how many times you’ve watched them. A Christmas Story and Home Alone top my list….

SPECIAL HOLIDAY MAKEUP PALETTES

They always come out this time of year, just in time for wallet emptying. And they’re always too beautifully packaged and marketed to resist. This year, being a huge fan of Bare Minerals makeup, the Ready collection eyeshadow compact in “Playlist” got me. But, luckily, it was worth every penny!

MERRY TUNES

I think we all have a favorite holiday song that always makes us sing along…mine is Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

CHRISTMAS MOVIES THAT HELP YOU GO ON

When the season gets you down, like it does so many of us, these are the movies that you watch to get the inspiration to rock around the Christmas tree another day….

My two favorites are It’s a Wonderful Life and, of course, the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, that has been done by literally everybody….




AND…AN OLD FASHIONED GUMDROP TREE….

These are nearly impossible to find now (the good ones anyway), but I got one from Signals a few years ago. If you want to find this kind (chrome plated) just search Google with those terms “chrome plated gumdrop tree”. Retailers will fleece you for one nowadays, but I daresay it’ll be worth it. I looked around for the history of them, but couldn’t find it. If you can, please post a link in the comment section. I seem to remember that they gained popularity during WWII. Anyway, what a fun holiday decoration! You simply decorate them with a package of multicolored gumdrops, also known as “spice drops”, and you’ll have a really great, apparently highly unique Christmas decoration. Oh, you’d better buy a few packages of drops, because they tend to get emptied pretty fast. 🙂

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Winter Solstice to all! Because, however you celebrate it…however you feel it in your heart, you ought to be able to say it and wish it to others without an eyeroll, or a citation from the PC Police, or offending anybody. And I’ll leave you with that thought this year–please let people wish you good cheer in the way that makes them feel good. Because at this time of year, of all times, we all really need to lose the militant, uptight ‘tude over what is correct and is or is not “offensive” and just try to be happy…

Until next time…

Remembering With Recipes

Standard

The First Page of My Grandmother’s Homemade Cookbook

When my grandmother, who I always called “Mamaw”, died a few years ago, I realized just how many of my memories of her included/revolved around food. I think this is often true about the women in our lives, because we are usually the ones doing the cooking for family gatherings, Sunday dinners, etc. The exception is cooking that involves the outdoor grilling of some slab of meat or another, in which case the memories would be of the man of the house. Because in my lifetime I don’t think I’ve ever known a guy who would allow anyone to cook anything on his grill while there was still breath in his body.

AKA, “Kay” to Everyone Who Knew Her, “Mamaw” to Me

Mamaw was a good cook—not a gourmet chef, but a good, memorable cook. Over the years she collected various recipes from friends and family members that she made a lot and that all of us remember her preparing. She is the reason that I have a particular fondness for the easy but unbelievably delicious dishes one can make by simply opening a bunch of cans and bags, mixing stuff together, and baking for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

A Favorite From the 80’s…I prefer these days to use an equivalent amount of fresh chopped broccoli instead of frozen.

And then there were her Christmas specialties such as her fabulous Bisquick Sausage Balls—to die for, people! For those of you who aren’t from the South, sausage balls are a common Christmas-time staple in our neck of the woods. They always have ground country sausage, mixed with cheddar cheese, and some sort of biscuit type ingredient to make them stick together and bake in the oven. Every Northerner or Californian I’ve ever made them for has fallen in love—with the sausage balls, not me. Mamaw found the easiest and also the most delicious sausage ball recipe ever, of course, and not only do I associate them with memories of her and her annual Christmas Eve buffet spread, but when I make them myself I can literally feel her presence in my home.

Mamaw’s Infamous Sausage Balls! I make them with less Bisquick, and more cheese, but try to get them just as “crumgly” 🙂

Food, especially a loved one’s trademarked recipes, is a conduit of memories, love, and comfort–even more so when they are gone from your life. Those sensory memories that familiar flavors spontaneously evoke are one way to keep your special person close to you always. Several years before she became ill and her health began to decline, Mamaw and my grandfather, who I always called Papaw, gathered up all her best recipes, typed them out (complete with some really endearing typos and misspellings), and made handmade cookbooks for all us kids and grandkids. My copy is well worn, and I have often referred to my “Kay’s Kollection” cookbook when planning a meal, or looking for something different to take to a potluck or Holiday gathering. And this book of Mamaw-related memory treasures honestly means more and more to me as the years pass on. Now I am somebody’s grandmother and I can only hope that my kids and grandkids will want to make some of my signature recipes someday. I have my own, and I have Mamaw’s originals, and my own versions of those with my special tweaks, that I can envision my kids and grandkids making years from now, and maybe remembering me when they do.

A 70’s Sunday Dinner Staple, Of Course! Who didn’t love to talk about Tricky Dick then?

I wanted to share all of this with you because I think more people should consider putting together handmade cookbooks like the one I treasure so. It’s a priceless gift for your kids and grandkids, a great way to carry on family traditions, and to remember all the precious times we’ve shared with the people in our lives, who all will inevitably leave us at some point. And my Mamaw’s simple recipes and some of the memories they hold for me are worth sharing with the world, I think. So, hats off to my special someone, and her knack for the simple and delicious! A few of my favorites are scattered throughout this piece, and have been photographed just as they appear in Kay’s Kollektion, with her typos and my kitchen spill stains. If you click each of the photos to view its actual size, the recipes should be very readable and, of course, easy to follow.

I hope you enjoy them, and they will encourage you to make your own memory filled cookbook for your family!

She Made This Concoction During the 70’s & 80’s. And she got it from her sister in law and friend, Opal “Opie” Hunt, who also happens to be Phil Hunt’s Mom.

Another Christmas Celebration Favorite From the 70’s!

My Grandparents, “Mamaw & Papaw”

Until next time…