Holiday Cheer – Caroline Clemmons

by Anna on December 19, 2014

What’s for Christmas dinner?

Like Anna Kathryn, I live in Texas. All but one of my two dozen or so titles are set in our state. I love most things (except the summer heat) about Texas. Have you noticed that when good friends and loved ones gather, there’s always a feast to celebrate? That’s certainly nothing new. Please allow me to share some elaborate Christmas dinners of the 1800’s.

In the Panhandle, Matador Ranch owners Lizzie and Henry Campbell invited everyone in a twenty-mile radius to partake of their Christmas hospitality. Supplies for the first one didn’t arrive from Fort Worth on time, so Mrs. Campbell prepared wild turkeys, cornbread dressing, boiled hams, venison steaks, antelope stew with dumplings, wild rice, corn pudding, apple pies from dried apples, and a washtub full of doughnuts. Wild plum jelly substituted for cranberries. The Christmas ball at the Matador became a tradition. Trimming the large native cedar tree was prior to the dance. (My Hero’s uncle Jimmy used to work at the Matador—but long after Henry and Lizzie had passed on.)

Texas plantations’ Christmas dinner might include raw oysters, bear meat, stuffed wild turkey, wild ducks, venison, beef and pork roasts, turnips, greens, sweet potatoes, creamed white potatoes, rice, home preserved vegetables and fruits, biscuits and other breads. I suppose most plantations would have been in South Texas within reach of the Gulf.

At the Jackson Ranch in the Panhandle, Christmas dinner included ducks, ham, turkey with cornbread stuffing and gravy, hot biscuits, sweet potatoes, corn with cream and butter, peas, butter beans, string beans, and Waldorf salad. For dessert, there were pies of mincemeat and pumpkin, custard pies, coconut layer cake, fruitcake, chocolate layer cake, seven-layer jelly cake, and a traditional Scottish cake with a hard icing. I’m surprised there were no creamed potatoes for the gravy. There was definitely no shortage of desserts, was there?

Are you hungry yet? What do you plan for your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza dinner?

Here’s a quick recipe our family loves. Probably one might use dried apples, but I use fresh ones as called for in the following instructions.

Fresh Apple Cake

¾ cup oil

2 apples, peeled and chopped

2 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups sugar

1 Tablespoon butter flavoring

1 teaspoon soda

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix and bake in tube pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve warm or cold. You may drizzle with melted caramel or with powdered sugar/milk glaze. Caramel icing would also work well on this cake.

garland

Caroline Clemmons is an award winning and Amazon bestselling author whose latest release is STONE MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS, a novella in her Stone Mountain, Texas series.

Stone Mountian

Find the title at:

Amazon http://amzn.com/B00OQUTDXA

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00OQUTDXA

Anna Kathryn, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. Merry Christmas to everyone!

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Anecdotes paraphrased from CHRISTMAS IN TEXAS by Elizabeth Silverthorne, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, Texas, 1990

Fresh Apple Cake from my personal recipes.

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