Pre-Christmas Cooking

One of my favorite traditions in my childhood was our annual Christmas Eve party. My parents invited all their friends and their families for a big giant dinner on Christmas Eve. Our old barn house had originally been “the party house” for another house. It fit my parents perfectly. They had lots of big parties.

As a child, my father kept my mind off thinking about Santa by having me help preparing the party food. For days we would visit the liquor store stocking the bar, bake hundreds of biscuits for ham biscuits, purchase oysters in gallon paint cans for oyster stew and roast many tenderloins. I credit this party as my introduction to catering on a large scale.

Our house, as a party house, had three kitchens. This was imperative to be able to store all the food we needed for the hundreds of guests. Since it was Connecticut it was always cold on Christmas eve so we also used a fleet of ice chests that lined the bridge from upstairs kitchen door to the land 20 feet away.

As I am preparing for the three major meals I am serving on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day to just dozens not hundreds, I miss those three kitchens. What I really miss is the ability to reliably use the outdoors as a refrigerator, although I don’t want to live in a cold climate.

Today I prepared the base for my homemade peppermint ice cream. I have exactly enough space in the freezer to put the ice cream machine core and once I make the ice cream it will take the place of the core. There is not a square inch to put an extra ice cube.

As I reviewed space in the refrigerator I adjusted my menu so that I did not need to worry about where to put a large ham. I changed a dessert for one dinner to something that did not have to be chilled. Since the weather is reported to be cold I am hoping to be able to keep ice frozen outside my house for two days.

The only good news is I don’t have to soak a country ham in the bathtub like I did as a child. I hope those of you who used to come to that party aren’t worried about that ham. The alcohol you drank killed anything dangerous.


2 Comments on “Pre-Christmas Cooking”

  1. Jane carter says:

    Oh I love this and what great parties we had I do remember a few guests falling down the stairs since our parties were in the living room upstairs thank you fir the memories mom

  2. Jane carter says:

    Oh I love this and what great parties we had I do remember a few guests falling down the stairs since our parties were in the living room upstairs thank you fir the memories mom


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