I love, love, love this time of year. The spirits of the holidays are thick in the air and you can feel it the people, the places, and especially the food. Nothing can compare to the holiday treats and all of the baking wonders that have come out of family kitchens for generations. I know in our family I grew up enveloped with Christmas baking traditions.
My dear grandmother from West Virginia would send a much-anticipated frozen chocolate pecan pie up to our family every year, and my sweet mother would make various pies, cheesecake, cookies, stained glass hard candy, fudge and caramels for family and friends to enjoy. I remember my mother would always let me and my brothers and twin sister help make the holiday treats, and for me, this was utopia. My memories of this time are lovely, but are probably a bit embellished by age.
Most definitely, Christmas cookie decorating was our family’s favorite baking tradition. Back in the late sixties and early seventies at Christmas time, I remember our family happily listening to Nat and Bing while snow gently drifted out our tiny, turquoise kitchen window. I remember my dear mommy somewhat patiently leading us through another treasured holiday tradition while my daddy read the newspaper in the living room oblivious to the commotion.
The kitchen was chaotic and crowded with all five of us kids crammed in, anxious to keep the Christmas cookie decorating tradition alive and well. Every year it was exactly the same, siblings fighting over cookies cutters, cookies decorated quaintly and imperfectly and kids sneaking cookie dough from our big brown, chipped mixing bowl with joyous giggles echoing throughout our brick home. Despite the cramped space, spats, and mess, the time together as a family was perfect. Not perfect in the real sense of the word, but perfect because we were together and it was our McComb family tradition.
I implore all of us to continue your own family traditions or start new ones, for it is paramount that our time-honored traditions continue for our children and our children’s children. For there is nothing better than having the magic in our hearts at Christmastime as we recall warm, sweet memories of delicious holiday treats, loving family traditions and Santa Claus!
Eat pie, and treasure holiday traditions... xoxoxo Linda
As my daughter, Ellie says, “Good people eat porridge, bad people eat gruel and Americans eat hot cereal.”
I love food. Obviously, this is no new news to most. I love trying new foods, but love my comfort classics. I love breakfast food. Love pancakies. Love all kinds of eggs. Love the smell of bacon. Love hot cereal…oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Ralston and grits. Yet, for me, there is nothing better than a hot bowl of Cocoa Wheats on a cold, frosty Michigan morning.
However, there was always something missing in my hot cereal love-fest, as I had never been able to love porridge as I did the others, only because I had never had it! All of my life I have always been intrigued to try porridge as it sounded so comforting and delicious in all the storybooks. Oddly enough, I never researched making a pot, for I certainly could have made quite a sound pot of porridge I suspect.
Fortunately, last week my porridge dream came true for I was able to try three different kinds of porridge in Jamaica; cornmeal, plantain and hominy. I was so excited to try each of them, I could hardly stand it. Actually, they ended up tasting very similar to me, but the cornmeal one was my favorite. I felt my own “goldie-locks” getting more gold with every yummy bite. It was very smooth and creamy and sweetened perfectly. I loved that it tasted so familiar, yet new. I love that quality in delicious and amazing food – familiar, yet new.
As it is, I am not sure that I love porridge any more than the other hot cereal classics, but I certainly don’t like it less either. I do know that I am smitten enough that surely my family will be enjoying a lovely pot of porridge one of these chilly, Sunday mornings very soon.
Eat pie and love porridge! xoxoLinda
Veterans' Day is such a special day, one of America's most special of days really. Today we honor our veterans that made one inspiring decision that changed their lives and all Americans' lives forever. They committed their lives to serve our country. This is an extraordinary measure of commitment, for as we know, many, many, many of those committed heroes lost God's greatest gift for our country.
Our military friends from today or yesteryear make and made our great country be. They make us be proud, be American, and most importantly, be here!
It is plain and simple, without these heroes, our American dream would not be. Let us remember our Revolutionary War heroes that truly made our country the independent, democratic country that it remains today. Or one could consider the great Civil War heroes that fought for domestic peace and equality for ALL men and women. Then one could consider the war of all wars, World War II, where our military heroes fought to retain our world's humanity and peace against great evil forces. And the more contemporary war heroes, less spoken of perhaps, but just as impressive - The Korean, Vietnam, Gulf, and Middle East veterans of today.
All of them, whether they are with us in body or spirit alone, deserve all the bucket loads of respect and recognition we, as Americans, can muster. But most importantly, they deserve our gratitude. Because without these heroes of America, we would not exist in the world that we know and more than likely, take for granted every day.
So let us love, hug, give thanks and pray for all living and passed veterans that carried on their heroic duties to make our lives peaceful, independent, equal and safe, for the good of America and all humanity. Or better yet, seek out a veteran and bake them or buy them a delicious All-American pie to show your love and appreciation, as wives, sisters, and mothers have done for decades showing theirs!
Eat Pie, be thankful for our Veterans!
P.S. The handsome Korean War veteran is my daddy, Ben McComb, taken in 1951.
Every year, my family celebrates the fall with Harvest Home, a lovely tradition we started since we moved to our beloved, century old farmhouse over fifteen years ago. Harvest Home is an old English tradition celebrating the annual harvest. After all the fields were gathered the community would come together for a community feast to rejoice in their bounty of blessings. We do this by having family and friends join us for homemade apple cider, lots of apple and pumpkin pies and our delicious stone soup.
Stone soup starts by adding a small stone to a large cooking pot filled with broth and vegetables over an open fire. Each hungry guest and/or family contributes a vegetable of their choosing to the bubbling brew until a rich and hearty soup created for all to share. Some guests are creative and bring bottles of wine, fresh herbs and homemade noodles or pasta. This is always fun, because each year the soup is different, but always, always yummy. Guests take turns stirring the massive copper pot, which is especially fun for the young and the old.
The pot is very similar to the one my Grandma Ferrell used for canning enormous batches of apple butter in the fall. My mother remembers the family stirring the great pot of her homemade applesauce and seasonings all day until it became thick with a lovely deep ruby hue. I threw an apple butter party one year too, which is loads of work and fun too!
When the soup is ready, our family and friends gather around the copper pot and fire. My sweet mother, adorned with her West Virginia hillbilly hat, tells the story of Stone Soup aloud to the crowd, and then my daddy says the blessing. Then joyful ladles of soup are dispersed to the hungry, patient crowd. It is so sweet to hear the sounds of happy folks eating bowls of hot and hearty goodness on a crisp fall day. And for favors, we intentionally make more soup than we can eat, so each family leaves with a container for their next day’s Sunday dinner!
Later, we watch old Disney movies on our vast barn doors, as folks are wrapped in quilts and comforters to stay warm. Some stay by the cozy bonfire to sing songs, tell stories and enjoy the bountiful day filled with good family, friends, food and fun!
I wholeheartedly suggest you put a party like this on, if space and time and hard work are plentiful in your circle of family and friends. As it really is another delicious memory for you to share with those that you love and a special event to remember all of God's sweet blessings!
Eat pie, and celebrate God's bounty -- xoxoxo Linda