December 11th – Christmas food memories

Today’s Blogmas prompt is, “Christmas food: what’s on the menu”. I already posted a post about this here and so am going to write, today, about some Christmas food memories/anecdotes.

ChristmasDrinks

You all know, by now, that I’m a big fan of Christmas food! And I’ve always been the same! My Mum and Dad used to buy all the food for Christmas in one big shop and store it in the dining room. So, there’d always be this great big mound of tempting food sat there, taunting me, for a few weeks before Christmas every year. Yep…you’ve probably guessed it…one year I was just too excited and literally couldn’t help myself and so popped open a pack of Pringles, some cheese biscuits, the stollen cake…all my favourite things…..much to my Mum’s horror….I tell you, my Christmas food favourites have never tasted as good as they did that night when I sat there, all alone, eating them in secret!

We’re not, have never been, big alcohol drinkers in my family but my Gran used to love a glass of sherry (or two). We’d walk over to her house, across the fields separating the two villages, and arrive rosy cheeked and ‘bringing the cold in’ (as she would say). She’d always greet us with mince pies, a fried egg on toast (it sounds simple but my Grans fried eggs on toast? World-class, I tell you!) and a glass of sherry. It wouldn’t just be any glass, though, it’d be the Biggest Serving of sherry in the Biggest Glass she had…we’d sit there, in my Gran and Grandad’s house, all of us chatting, laughing, enjoying each other, the chatter warming our hearts, the sherry warming our ‘cockles’ (as my Gran would say). I’ve tried sherry in Spain, in Jerez, and I tell you, none of the ones I tried there tasted anywhere near as nice as my Gran’s sherry on the days we walked over the fields to her house and sat, all the family together, talking, laughing, watching the night draw in over the fields and, if we were lucky, watching the snow come down, great big flakes silently cloaking the land. [I miss you, Gran and Grandad].

Another ‘drink related’ story that always comes to mind when I think of Christmas is me being allowed to have a snowball when I was little. A snowball is a cocktail containing Advocaat, lemonade and a swish of lime juice, all topped with a cherry skewed on a cocktail stick and placed across the top of the glass. It’s delicious: sweet but not too sweet, light and, well, Christmassy. Anyway, all the adults would be slurping away at their snowballs and my Grandad would always call me to one side and give me a glass he’d made especially for me. I used to feel so special that I was allowed to have a grown up drink (it was always one of the highlights of my day!)….[obviously, looking back, it must have had the tiniest, tiniest amount of Advocaat in it – just to give it it’s distinctive yellow colour]….

More food memories? I could go on and on…but I’ll leave you with one of my favourites….my beloved Dad in the kitchen, concocting all sorts of new – and delicious – foods for all the special dinners over Christmas and New Year….he was Jamie Oliver before Jamie Oliver was cooking…a little bit of this, a little bit of that…everything he touched turned to food gold. He had such a knack of combining flavours and making cooking – and food – seem so vital. I used to stand, enchanted, watching him (for as long as I could, because he’d always rope me in to help – something I accepted without hesitation!). He’d come alive in front of the stove, his face beaming as he tried his food, giving me instructions as to what to bring him and why the flavours were good together….I learnt so much from him in those super special moments. So much about love and dedication and care and attention to detail. [I miss you, Dad, I miss you so, so much. Will be thinking of you, all day, as I make Christmas meals for the littles this year, whilst I tell them all about you as they sit facing me, watching me, eyes wide open as they hear tales of their wonderful Grandad, a special, special, man who gave away all the love and joy he had every single day he lived].

[Sorry if this post is a bit  melancholy in parts: my Gran died 6 years ago on the 6th and my Dad  15 years ago on the 8th (when I wrote this): I always get nostalgic around this time of year]

 

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27 thoughts on “December 11th – Christmas food memories

  1. Lizelle says:

    Wonderful post. Such beautiful imagery feeding my wanderlust.
    Sometime reading you posts I get so fascinated at all the little traditions handed down to my tiny country from yours haha It’s wonderful see see shards of us reflected in the long British ways; here I am reminded of this trend to give in the biggest glass you have to your visitor in times of celebration.

    I don’t have many Christmas memories, certainly not good ones but what you said about watching wide eyed does job my memory a bit about spending time with my aunt just watching her do the dishes. It’s amazing how treasured moments like that can be, were you do little, say little but feel much.

    Your dad sounds like a wonderful man.

    I love that your gran gave you a taste and made you feel special too! It kind of reminds me to do little things like that for my students or other little ones, not the alcohol of course lol just little things that make them feel included in the ‘big people group’ It can mean ever so much.

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    • iwillbloom says:

      What a wonderful comment, thank you so much! I always found it fascinating, when on ‘our’ island, to see all the different mixes of traditions and cultures (and trying to figure out the Creole language – still impossible for me!)….Hope you’re having a lovely day xxx

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  2. Chelsea says:

    I love how you tell a tale- you have a way of bringing us right along with you- and this one was beautiful. I love how you all walked across fields to get to your grand and the special drinks, and all the love! Lots of beautiful memories- thanks for sharing!

    http://www.hollandsreverie.blogspot.com

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  3. Barbara says:

    Loved reading your Christmas memories! You DO tell a wonderful story and sharing it with us, your friends and readers! So happy to hear you are passing on these memories to your little ones…we have stories and memories, too; but now that my grandparents and my parents are gone – well, I need to try to make sure things are preserved so they CAN be passed on to my children and grandchildren…we can remember them through pictures; but must also remember the stories! Thank you so much for sharing these!

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Barbara, thank you for your comment! I think that’s why I love scrapbooking so much: it allows us to get the stories down, as well as keeping the photos.

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  4. Sian says:

    A deeply, richly coloured post 🙂

    I found a picture of my own dad at Christmas when I was looking for a photo for Sunday. He always wore his dinner jacket on Christmas Day

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Oh, Sian, the thought of your Dad in his dinner jacket made me all sad/happy/nostalgic for you….what a wonderful memory (can’t wait to read your story on Sunday!)

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  5. Tamy says:

    Lovely post. How could you not get melancholy? So many of my memories are wrapped up in those same people (LOL well not the SAME people, but my own dad and grams) who have also been passed for many years, but always come to mind this time of year to help me celebrate in a nostalgic way.

    Love your picture and memory of the cream sherry. I just bought a bottle (I like the good stuff to cook with) the other day. 🙂

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia Tamy, thank you for your comment…its the time of year when all the good that’s ever happened to us comes back to warm us. Ooh, cream sherry: delicious! I would love some, but just can’t justify the price of a big bottle (as I don’t usually drink and can’t bear the thought of it sitting there, 90% full, after Christmas)…

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  6. Dawn says:

    When I was little and my parents had parties my mom would always make me a Shirley Temple. It’s gingerale with a splash of maraschino cherry juice. She’d put it in a cocktail glass and it felt like I was drinking with the adults (but they all had alcohol in their glasses). Those were fun times.

    By the way, I hope you don’t mind, but I started following you. I also have a WordPress account but I don’t use it very much.

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  7. Liane says:

    I had to laugh at the story of some of your favourite food in secret!

    Lovely post x

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  8. Liane says:

    That meant to say, “eating some of your favourite food in secret!” Lol

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  9. Carrie Ann says:

    Such a beautiful post!! I loved this….”he was Jamie Oliver before Jamie Oliver was cooking” I wish I could cook like that. Reading all your special memories with your family just put a smile on my face, melancholy is needed at this time of year. My Gram has been gone 6 years as well, my dad only 2 years. Thanks for sharing your heart!!

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia….thanks so much for your comment….it seems like you certainly bake up a storm, lady!!!! I think Christmas is that time of year when we always remember the best and the best is so often connected to memories of people we’ve lost (in our cases)…so it’s only natural we get melancholic….(which is, I’ve realised, just another kind of love)….have a lovely evening!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Angel Jem says:

    So many of my friends have lost special people at this time of year. Remembering them through the food we eat is very beautiful…. and has the permission of the Bible to back you up! Lovely stories and imagery.

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  11. Sandra says:

    LOL that was so funny that you stole the food. I love all your food memories, they are are treasures for sure 🙂

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  12. Jhona O. says:

    This was my favorite post to read today. I love the sweet memories and the emphasis on enjoying each other’s company. I lost my grandmother in July and this will be the first Christmas without her. Those memories are the sweetest gift.

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Oh, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so sorry about your Grandmother…it’s hard. The first Christmas is hard but time will heal the worst wounds.

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  13. Such precious precious stories Helen. I could go on reading all night & the cooking moments with your Dad bring tears to my eyes. What sweet memories for you to share with your kiddos! Write them down!! Put the recipes next to the stories in a beautiful collection for your Littles. Treasures forever.

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia….I’m doing that this year in my December Daily: popping the recipes and my memories about them in with our ‘daily happenings’…..it’s turning out to be my favourite album yet! Thank you for your beautiful comment: it (they) mean so much xxx

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  14. Peechy says:

    What Beautiful, Beautiful memories. so well written, I feel as though I was watching the younger you running across to your Nan’s to receive her lovely treats. I love every memory you shared, each different but the love echoes through them all.
    The Loss of your loved ones may hurt deeply but they are kept alive in your retelling of the wonderful times and passing down the love you learnt from them. Their legacy truly lives on.
    May you find comfort in your recollections and the sadness not be too deep xxx

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    • iwillbloom says:

      What a beautiful comment…thank you so much. So cherished, thank you. Yes, their legacy does live on (I learnt that the hard way)…..I have found great comfort in my recollections. Thank you so much. Helen

      Like

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