Traditions are celebrated at a local family’s fête.
The holidays are such joyous occasions we all look forward to with anticipation. Family gatherings are such fun and set the tone for traditions that follow and evolve for years. In my family, we could not wait to see our cousins, kiss our aunts and get big hugs from our uncles. We would crank up the antique music box and dance to waltzes with each other, and on one special Christmas my sister, cousin and I received life-size rag dolls that attached to our feet so we could dance with them! Following the big holiday meal we would all change into our play clothes and have an afternoon of touch football.
The children’s table set with holiday finery.
Caroline Morrison with her mother, Jennifer Morrison.
One family tradition was the “children’s tables” set for the overflow. I can’t remember how many strong in numbers we were, but I do remember it was the most fun. Unlike most, I felt like “special attention” had to be placed with other family members at the children’s table. Now we, the “older generation,” marvel at our numbers and plan accordingly. We still have the children’s table, which is beautifully appointed and serve lots of delicious food.
Our holiday celebrations now last for hours. We usually start with a special drink or two and lots of hors d’oeuvres. While the final preparations for the main meal are being completed, it’s a wonderful time to visit.
Emmett Morrison serves potato chips with a bleu cheese dipping sauce.
Now with so many kith and kin, we ask family and friends to bring a favorite dish, so over the years our “traditional” holiday meal has been re-invented several times. A typical menu shared with friend and family alike is shown on the opposite page, and one dish that remained a keeper is “Aunt Belle’s Green Beans,” named for one of our favorite aunts who was always assigned this dish.
For one holiday party, we shared a meal with the Morrison clan. I can’t remember how many we were, but they, too, had the children’s table. And, we brought the “Aunt Belle’s Green Beans” as a special treat for all.
This is also a dish that my son, Marsh Moseley, loves to cook. He uses canned beans. I prefer to use fresh ones. Be sure to make generous servings for seconds!
“Aunt Belle’s Green Beans,” a favorite holiday side dish that’s easy to prepare.
Aunt Belle’s Green Beans
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 strips bacon, cut in pieces
2 cups drained tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 lb. fresh green beans, cut in small pieces and blanched
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms, sautéed in 4 tblsp. butter
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Dash of Chipoltle Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup buttered breadcrumbs
Cook peppers, onion and bacon together for 5 to 8 minutes. Drain excess fat from bacon. Add drained tomatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add blanched beans, sautéed mushrooms, mayonnaise and seasonings. Blend thoroughly. Place in greased casserole dish. Cover with breadcrumbs, dot with butter and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serves 6.
A pomegranate martini is a delicious way to kick off a celebration
2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. pomegranate juice
Splash of triple sec
Garnish with your choice of: orange rind or grapes.
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake, strain and serve in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with orange rind or grapes. Serves 1.
Hors d’oeuvres & Appetizers
Fresh Potato Chips with Bleu Cheese
Crabmeat Madison on Endive
Crayfish Saffron Soup
Oyster Bread Dressing
Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Aunt Belle’s Green Beans
Assorted Rolls with Butter Balls
Ice Cream with Hot Chocolate Sauce
Cheese Cakes with Raspberries and Mint
Cranberry Conserve Tarts