When I was a little girl, we didn’t have many family traditions. Looking back, I think that might have been because my mom hadn’t grown up with family traditions so she didn’t really see the importance of having things that we look forward to year after year. She grew up during the Great Depression, so I think that life was difficult just getting through a day, and people worked hard to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. So traditions or holiday celebrations were rather sparse, with no time or energy to be creative or festive during the holidays. For this week’s Home Matters Party #213 with a theme of holiday food, I thought it would be fun to share a few traditional holiday foods that I have established with my little family. #HolidayFood #HolidayDrinks #HomeMattersParty
I do remember one thing that we did every Christmas however . . . not sure why, but there was this one thing that my mom did every Christmas Eve. She made “pigs in a blanket.” I remember that she used regular ol’ pie crust dough (so they were really dry, at least the way she made them!), and little sausages. That was the only time of the year that we had those yummy little sausages, so it was really a special occasion when she would make “pigs in a blanket.”
The only other traditional food that she made (not just at holiday time) was what she called “olikuchen,” which I think came from my great-grandma who was part German. As I’ve tried to find a recipe for “olikuchen,” the closest thing I could find is called “Schmalzkuchen: Little German Doughnuts.” The picture looks like the little fried donuts that my mom would make, so I think this might be what they really were called. They are little balls of yeast dough fried in lard making “puffs” that are then sprinkled with powdered sugar. Those were also one of very special treats when I was a little girl. I found a recipe for “Schmalzkuchen” HERE.
Schmalzkuchen: Little German Doughnuts from The Spruce Eats
One tradition that my older kids grew up with (although at the time they kind of thought it was . . . . strange) was having a cup of Wassail on Christmas Eve as well as on the night that we decorated our tree. I learned about Wassail as I was reading stories of Victorian England and holiday celebrations during that time. A cup of hot, spiced cider was part of every Victorian family’s Christmas festivities, so I thought it would be fun to try it. Of course, if I had just called it “hot spiced cider,” perhaps the reaction might have been different – after all don’t we often have hot spiced cider every autumn with donuts around the campfire? But because I called it “Wassail” then it seemed rather suspect, but we carried on. Eventually the Christmas Eve ritual of Wassail and pigs in a blanket became part of our family tradition.
For this week’s Home Matters Party roundup, I found a few recipes for homemade eggnog (another tradition that I brought into my own family) as well as a recipe for Wassail and one for pigs in a blanket. They are a bit fancier than the way I do it, but still, it would be fun to try a new “twist” on an old family tradition. What about your family? Do you have any holiday traditions that your kids look forward to every year? I’m glad I took the time to establish a few traditions and I hope that my kids think so, too.
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