Black Friday is over and my FARMHOUSE KITCHEN is getting back to the lighter side of Plain and Simple. . .The days are so gray now that I enjoy being inspired by choices that reflect as much light as possible. . .but then. . .I do like the candlelight, too. . .
Christmas is coming way too fast, isn't it? . .I realized this morning that there is only nineteen more days left. . .All my planning and 'doing' ahead and I'm still behind in wrapping packages and mailing gifts. . .not to mention sending Christmas cards. . .And, John's fruit cake hasn't been baked. . .It will need time to soak up the bourbon from the cheesecloth wrapping. . .He refuses to celebrate Christmas without a fruit cake. . .
His Mom was a great cook. . .In fact, she baked for the private school that John attended as a child. . .He still misses her every year when Christmas rolls around. . .and her fruit cake. . .He says I've perfected it over the years, but I think he's just being nice. . .I do my best without her recipe. . .Each year he does get a little misty-eyed when I unveil my latest attempt for the perfect concoction of fruit, pecans, cinnamon and spices. . .
For me, I think I enjoy carrying on the tradition of baking for others and surprising them with the goodies. . .I'm totally happy puttering around the kitchen with Red Velvet Cake all over me. . .listening to Christmas songs on the radio. . .remembering all the women in my family spending a lot of time in their kitchens of the past. . .I remember Mom trying to make one special dessert for each of us. . .our favorites. . .For me, it was Jam Cake. . .for my brother it was Pound Cake with Orange Sauce. . .For Daddy it was anything sweet but Aunt Mamie did please him each year with Lemon Ice Box pies. . .He loved those pies. . .
The women in my family didn't bake just for the family. . .They would send sweet homemade treats to neighbors and friends. . .and to those who worked on the farms. . .I remember Mom telling the story of Ole Blucher, my Grandmother's gardener, who lived in a little shack out back of her house. . .He never wanted a gift of money. . .or of clothes. . .or of Russell Stover Candy. . .He only wanted Grandmother's Sweet Potato Pies (She would make him two). . .and maybe a bottle of her Muscadine Wine. . .purely medicinal, you know. . .
So many family traditions. . .so many years of gathering them. . .but, that's what memories are for. . .to relive in one's mind the traditions that time and life have changed. . .but to keep the ones that work for us and our families now. . .Can't keep them all. . .Yet, there are some that we never consider not including. . .like John's fruit cake. . .
Hmmm. . .Now that I'm thinking about it. . .where DID I put that bourbon last year?
CHECK OUT SOME OF THE FAMILY RECIPES
UNDER 'SEASONED SOUTHERN STYLE'
IN THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN. . .