Hoping someone who knows something will respond to this and give me some assistance. I was absent for most of a month and while I was unable to write, “someone” made a lot of changes to my blog. Now I can’t find any of my familiar places on which to post new material. I had 624 blog posts on sandyscookbookchatter. PLEASE RESTORE MY blog to what it was before someone changed it. I have never figured out an easy way to contact anyone at wordpress. and prior to THIS blog I had another that was all articles and material about collecting cookbooks. I paid for an entire year on my blog and it hasn’t been a year yet. help!!! Sandra Lee Smith/sandyscookbookchatter.wordpress.com
CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND THE GOOSE IS GETTING FAT
Christmas is on the horizon (you may not want to think so, since Thanksgiving leftovers are still in the frig) but our household gears up for Christmas by September—at least it did for decades; I have begun to stock up on dried fruit–and there are so many more to choose from these days; pineapple and mango and cherries and ginger–many ingredients which will make a fantastic fruitcake, even if you think you don’t really like fruitcake.
Cookbookauthor Edna Lewis recalled Christmas in Freetown, writing, “When I was a girl growing up in a small farming community of Freetown, Virginia, preparations for Christmas started in early September, when we children went out to gather black walnuts, hickory nuts, and hazelnuts….Whenever she saw a break of a day or two from the September harvest, Mother would set about making the fruitcake. It wasa family affair that my older sister and I cheerfully participated in….” I know I get my pecans and walnuts from asupermarket, but in my heart I am gathering black walnuts and hickory nutssomewhere in the south.
Istock up on sugar and flour, watching for sales, and begin digging through myrecipe files for all the favorite cookie recipes. I have four sons and sixgrandchildren and they all have different favorites. All of my friends beg for their favorites. We bake a lot of cookies starting in October. I also spend time making and decorating cookieswith my grandchildren and my sister’s three children. This is something theyall love to do.
You can make almost any cookie dough ahead of time and pack it in portions in the freezer–but you can also bakecookies in advance, if you want, and freeze them too.
Since our freezer is usually packed, I find it easier to freeze the cookie dough and then go on a baking binge with whoever wants to help.
We’ve already been canning little jars of jams and jellies, preserves and fruit butters –
Much of which comes from our own trees and vines as well as those on my sister’s fruite trees, and these are earmarked as gifts for various friends and former co-workers. There was a time when I gave everyone in the office where I worked a jar of jelly for Christmas. There wereless than 50 employees in the office at that time. Now there are over 200. Ibegan limiting the gift-giving of jellies to my own department before I finally retired.
It’s almost as much fun going through my recipe collections and all of the Christmascookbooks, looking for different holiday cookie or candy recipes to try.Sometimes they’re winners, sometimes not – but it’s always enjoyable,experimenting and trying something new. The reward is when someone asks for the recipe! —
Sandra Lee Smith, Updated December 8 , 2018
I have to admit, my techniques for baking and candy-making has changed considerably since I first started making cookies in my own kitchen in 1958. In fact, one of the first pamphlets I obtained that December is a now-tattered 4-page booklet titled “From our Kitchen to Yours – 66 Wonderful Ways to capture the warmth and Joy of an old-fashioned Christmas, BETTY CROCKER’S HOLIDAY ALMANAC, 1958, with many of the sweet treats made from products no longer available, such as Betty Crocker’s Meringue Mix to make kisses, or creamy fudge made with Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Frosting Mix. This was long before you could buy so many different ready-made frostings in a tub. Betty Crocker has changed a great deal in 50 years but so have we.
And I don’t mind confessing that many of my cut-out sugar cookies started out with rolls of refrigerated cookie dough that can be tinkered with to make many different types of cookies. In fact, you can buy cookbooks totally dedicated to showing you how to make dozens of cut-out, bar, and drop cookies – with refrigerated cookie dough. I have to say, though – I never use ready-made frostings or icings of any kind; those are all made from scratch. This is just a personal preference and I make a really decadent deep chocolate frosting.
We’ll be ready for Christmas 2018 although as I sit in front of a fan trying to stay cool, it’s hard to imagine Southern California cooling off enough by December!
And no, we won’t be having goose. Prime rib or pork roast, most likely.
Sandra Lee Smith
Updated December 8 , 2018 ffff
hello friends; I have been having problems getting back to my blog. crossing my fingers that this will work. – sls
One afternoon recently, I began going through some of the bookshelves in the garage library, and realized that some of the very old books I had stored out there were getting – not just dusty – but some kind of dust mites attacking the bindings and covers.
So, I am in the process of re-packing some of these books and as I went along, I couldn’t resist looking inside some of these cookbooks. One thing that enchants me is the lengthy titles some of these books have. The cover of THE EVERY DAY COOKBOOK/Illustrated is proclaimed on the inside EVERY-DAY COOK-BOOK and ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PRACTICAL RECIPES by Miss E. Neil and in smaller print below the author is the following “Economical, Reliable and Excellent” and below THAT Chicago, Ill REGAN PRINTING HOUSE, 1892.
The collection of recipes are mostly short and to the point. I am bemused by one for Rich…
View original post 850 more words
CHILDREN THEN AND NOW IN THIS SEASON
Christmas was a great deal simpler, in my childhood;
There were not many presents and most
were much needed clothing
Like socks and underwear.
I remember being thrilled one year
With days-of-the-week panties in
I was beyond ecstatic the year
My brother Jim gave me
Five – count them FIVE – brand new
Nancy Drew mysteries.
We children went downtown by ourselves
And bought gifts for our parents,
Grandparents, and siblings.
How we accomplished this feat
Remains a mystery to me, when you consider
we received no allowances and what money
we could save was generally
obtained from cashing in pop bottles (2 cents
each) Or running errands for neighbors.
You also needed bus fare to go to and from
Downtown Cincinnati –
And we would find little handkerchiefs
For our mother
Or a man’s handkerchief
For our father,
Hairnets or bobby pins
Were the least expensive gifts
We could find at the 5&10 cent stores.
My mother saved all old gift wrap
So we ironed it, and the ribbons as well,
It remains a mystery
How we manage to shop for everyone;
It was something like the loaves and fishes
Out of the bible.
We eagerly anticipated Christmas
And being old enough to attend
Church services were an everyday part of
our lives and going to Catholic schools meant
attending mass Every day.
In the 8th grade, I missed singing at mass on
one Saturday due to illness – and it cost me
being the one to crown the statue of Mary
At the May procession in the Virgin’s honor.
In school, in the lower grades,
I remember sometimes making presents
For our parents; I remember
A tie-rack made from the cardboard tube
From a roll of paper towels, to give to my
We made ornaments out of walnut shells
and uncooked macaroni.
We listened to Santa Claus on the radio
Coming all the way to you from the North
Pole and we could hardly wait for the first
snowfall despite it meaning we would be
trudging Through the snow, to and from
In my family, Christmas was celebrated
On Christmas Eve and back in the early days
My grandmothers and often, my godmother
(who was my father’s favorite cousin)
would also be there.
Christmas morning was a time to go to
church and sit up close to the front
Where you could admire the nativity,
large statues of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.
I loved Christmas morning mass
Where all the hymns sung were in
celebration of the birth of the Christ child.
We might have dinner that day at my
grandmother’s (if not there, then at our
house) – where, afterwards, my Uncle Al
herded together all the children
and dropped us off at the local movie theatre
giving us each a quarter
for admission, popcorn or candy.
We thought Uncle Al was rich.
At grandma’s or at our house,
The adults would clear the table
And begin to play cards.
They loved a game called Skit Skat
And another called Michigan Poker.
We didn’t care to be a part of it.
Left to sit in a movie theatre,
We could easily sit and watch
That is what Christmas was like
Children today have only to ask for
Everything their little hearts’ desire
And parents stand in long lines
To find the most popular toy or
But now it’s all electronics;
Newer and fancier cell phones
That take photographs and
Every child has some electronic game,
Expensive electronic devices that
Require expensive games to play
Where every child can play
Entirely alone and by themselves
Even when sitting in a room with
Siblings or the children of friends.
There is no need to interact
As you would with Monopoly
Or the game of Sorry.
Children have so many toys and games
That there is no place to keep them
And their rooms remain in shambles;
I remember telling my granddaughter how
much simpler it was to keep my own room
clean as there were only 4 or 5 games and
they were stored in a small cupboard above
my clothes closet.
We didn’t have a lot of clothing –
A good dress, a pair of good shoes to be worn
Only on Sundays and holidays.
Children today live in a surplus of ‘things’
And no one seems happy or satisfied.
The childhood of my children were
much simpler, also, as we had so little to
spend- But I’d buy them many small gifts
throughout the year, and we’d bake cookies
and make fudge. Something has been lost
along the way; Soon those in power will
completely eliminate Christ from Christmas
And then, will it all become just
A day to shower your children
With expensive electronic devices?
Sandra Lee Smith
Originally written December 2009
Updated November, 2018
–Sandra Lee Smith
Here we are, well into November, anticipating Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then before you can even get the Christmas decorations put away as well as any New Year’s decorations if you have any (I think the only New Year’s decoration we have is a battery operated little mouse that does some kind of singing or dancing – the batteries have been dead, for years, and never replaced.
My parents often had a New Year’s eve party that I was never there to celebrate–as a teenager, it was a good night for babysitting although I was frequently underpaid. At my parents home, at midnight everyone had sauer kraut, mashed potatoes and peas and usually some kind of pork cooked with the sauer kraut–Pork and sauer kraut was considered good luck to have on New Year’s eve in my German heritage.
I’ve been thinking – what have I discovered about life this year? I have discovered that regular squirrels do not inhabit the desert (at least I haven’t seen any in the ten years I’ve been living in the desert). Those that tormented our dog, Jackie, down in the San Fernando valley are not around up here. Here, there are some kind of ground squirrels or moles–little creatures that dig up your lawn and eat up the roots of all your flowers and plants. Our cat Calvin liked to stake out a spot in the back yard and wait for one of those creatures to show itself. The critters learned to avoid Calvin at all cost.
I have also learned that life in a town (township?) like Quartz Hill is more easier going than city life–the last time I drove down to the San Fernando Valley was in April–I was making a trip to Ohio on Southwest Airlines–when I reached the area where the 14 freeway ends, and you have to get over to the left and merge with traffic on the I-5, I was immediately terrified by the traffic – in the Antelope Valley we have one freeway, the 14, which crosses the Antelope Valley, usually with traffic at a reasonable speed. (well, I do try to plan my trips in or out of the Antelope Valley when traffic is light).
Getting back to life in Quartz Hill, I never thought about living in a small town but have learned to appreciate it. I like the friendly familiar faces of shopkeepers
at the dry cleaners,
the automotive shop on 50th (Jiffy Lube)
Our little Post Office on 50th
My Veterinary office, also on 50th
the LANCASTER Library,
the European Deli
My manicurist at Nail Pro; she’s on avenue L and 20th
the pharmacist inside Von’s supermarket
the nursery that only sells plants and trees that will grow in the desert
and many, many others.
Until earlier this year, I bowled with a group of women at the Lancaster bowling lanes which unfortunately, reduced their leagues and hours of operation, so that my girlfriend Iona and her son and I have recently joined a league that meets on Monday nights in Palmdale.
I’m not sure when it happened….but somewhere along the way, in the past ten years that I have been living here, despite losing Bob to cancer of the esophagus in 2011, I never thought it would happen….but it did…..I have adapted to Quartz Hill, adapted to desert climate and living, adapted to the wild flowers including the prolific poppies in the spring, adapted to an easier way of living–its a rare occasion when you hear an airplane and if there’s more than one, you go outside and look around. I lived for many years in the flight path of air traffic heading for Burbank’s Bob Hope airport. Southwest Airlines in Burbank is my #1 choice of traveling–I think I am in their records because the last time I traveled, in April, they had wheelchair assistance waiting for me everywhere I went.
What I have discovered this year (my ten year anniversary Thanksgiving weekend) is that life may not be a bowl of cherries but I can certainly offer you a bowl of strawberries or maybe a little bowl of pomegranate seeds from my own pomegranate tree (or strawberry jam or pomegranate jelly.)
I think I saw a quote some years ago–not sure who originally wrote it–but the quote is “grow where you are planted” I’m working on it.
Sandra Lee Smith
November, 11, 2018
It’s too late to change,
we said so long,
months, then years,
Have come and gone,
I’ve resigned my life,
to this, my fate,
I know for us
it’s far too late.
For those of us,
like you and I,
who let our chances
pass us by;
I won’t search
for you again;
I’m letting go
and hoping, then,
I’ll find some peace;
Not love, perhaps,
but time to let
what we had lapse.
the winds of change
are in the air;
I’m letting go–
It’s only fair;
It’s not that I
will swear off men,
but love is what
I won’t try again.
–Sandra Lee Smith
Previously posted December 26, 2009