Tag: 2017 December Group Writing

Stuffing vs. Dressing

 

When I was growing up, one of the big staples of every Christmas and Thanksgiving feast involving turkey was a couple of giant pans filled with slightly-mushy baked cornbread dressing full of chicken or duck. I hated the stuff when I was younger, but it has grown on me considerably in recent years. I had known there was such a thing as stuffing, but that was always referred to as “what Northerners call dressing.”

In some cases, I suppose that would be true. Most of the “stuffing” recipes I find have you make the stuffing much like dressing, but use that to stuff the turkey, while dressing is only meant to be a side dish that you eat alongside the bird. For my in-laws, stuffing isn’t used for stuffing so much, but it is a stove-top concoction of chunks of bread with sage and eggs. It’s still very tasty, but very different from the dressing made by my family. On the other hand, I can find plenty of “dressing” recipes that look much like what my in-laws consider stuffing.

Be Jealous: My Christmas Menu

 

In the run-up to Christmas, my wife declared the menu. In the days before, we would have dill pickle soup. On Christmas, we would have ham steaks, polenta, and broccoli.

I had fun with the polenta and used a cookie cutter I have to cut the pieces into the shape of teddy bears.

Christmas Pizza

 

It started just about 39 years ago. As with most families, Christmas Day at my house was marked by all the usual things: the early risings, opening presents, listening to Christmas music,  and having the traditional turkey dinner with potatoes, vegetables, etc. That was until Christmas 1978.

You see, a month before, on November 26, my family was increased from six kids to seven by the birth of a (devastatingly handsome to be sure) 10-lb., 23″-long bouncing baby boy (who, though he was destined to be a fairly trouble-free infant, toddler, and young child … adolescence was another story) whose birth had led to a slow and unpleasant recovery by my mother.

Member Post

 

My family traditions for Christmas are spread out to both Christmas Eve and Day, as well as the Saturday after Christmas. Granted, now I am only doing every other Christmas with my side of the family as they are 1700 miles away. Christmas Eve Christmas Eve was always spent with my mother’s side of the […]

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Member Post

 

When my wife was in the 4th grade, her mother spent a weekend baking cinnamon rolls with a twist. She made the sweeten bread, rolled it flat, added a butter/cinnamon sugar layer with raisins, rolled it into a log and pushed the ends together into a ring. Using scissors, cuts (~ ¾ through from the […]

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The Christmas Open House

 

My father was a policeman. By the time I was four years old, he had been promoted to sergeant, and there he stayed for the rest of his career. On a police force with well over 100 men, they must have had at least 10 with the rank of sergeant, but he was “The Sarge.” He was tough. He had an intimidating presence. He could be charming, but he could also eviscerate with only a few words. He was the hyper-competent guy they went to when there was a problem in some division of the police department. He would go in, get things running smoothly, and then move on to the next problem area. He got things done, but if you were an officer on the street, he was your boss, not your buddy.

My mother was a much more welcoming person. Knowing what policemen went through, and knowing that they had to be out working on holidays when most folks were warm at home with their families, she started a tradition of a Christmas open house. She would cook and bake for days getting ready. When Christmas came, the dining room table would be loaded up in buffet form. A policeman could stop by, load up a plate, talk to those who were there while eating and taking in a bit of non-alcoholic Christmas cheer.

Member Post

 

The most serious part of my holiday celebration is not complicated: I observe Chanukah. I hope most people know by now that Chanukah is not a Jewish version of Christmas. It begins the evening of December 12 this year. Here is how the Chabad website briefly describes the holiday: In the second century BCE, the […]

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Member Post

 

Shortly before the start of the Khmer New Year in mid-April and Pchum Ben (Festival of the Dead) in September/October, two types of traditional cakes that bear the name num ansom make their appearances all over Cambodia’s bakeries and markets. But first, a brief Khmer lesson: Num = cake, and after the French arrived in […]

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Member Post

 

In Group Writing, Ricochet members claim one day of the coming month to write on a proposed theme. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with a bit of accountability and topical guidance to encourage writing for its own sake. Haven’t participated in Group Writing yet? We’d love for […]

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