Post-Christmas Advice

With a family of four children, I discovered many years ago that my advice was little valued. Despite that knowledge, I am posting some words of wisdom for those who are teachable.

1. Never purchase a pre-lit fake Christmas tree that is covered with glitter.
Never acquiring a fake tree is a great idea but, if you are into saving real trees, know that a glitter covered fake tree means a glitter covered house.

2. Don’t get on the bathroom scale for at least two months following weeks of holiday celebrating.
Temptations presented by homemade cookies and candy, yeast rolls, and Topsy’s® popcorn are always too great to overcome. (At least that is true for me.) A medium-sized tin of Topsy's cheese/caramel/cinnamon now sells for over $37.00. At that price, one should go cold turkey, but it is worth every penny.

3. Never use recipes from December issues of magazines.
Why? All day preparation of one dessert is, in my opinion, a day wasted. Also, Christmas recipes now include unusual combinations of ingredients. Who finds cookies made with asparagus, sauerkraut, cardamom, and anise more delicious than cookies made with chocolate chips? Just wondering.

Finally, modern day recipes may need translation – mostly from French. I believe the KISS Principle should be applied to recipes, so here we go with just a few of the terms.
Ganache - A pastry glaze.
Roux - A cooked mixture of flour and fat used for thickening.
À la carte - Something served alone.
Agar - A vegan jelling agent.
Al dente – The optimal “doneness” of pasta.
Allumette – To cut vegetables into small, thin pieces the size of matchsticks.
Amandine - Any dish garnished with toasted almonds.
Cooking is easy peasy when recipes are written using plain English.

4. Don't make selfish resolutions for the New Year.
Learning to love life is a resolution I read last week. The young lady who wrote this resolution plans to focus on things that make her happy and fulfilled by taking charge of her life, doing the things that make her happy, not doing things others expect of her, traveling more and having amazing experiences, threating herself with love and respect, doing nice things for herself, surrounding herself with people who love her and treat her well, caring more about how she feels than what others think, and reclaiming her living space to make a sanctuary and safe haven. 

Maybe narcissistic?

Following is the Christmas Eve Service benediction given by my cousin, Ron Morrell, pastor of the China Baptist Church in China, Maine. It expresses my desire for the New Year.

May you be filled with the wonder of Mary,
The obedience of Joseph,
The joy of the angels,
The eagerness of the shepherds,
The determination of the magi,
And the peace of the Christ child,
And may Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever. Amen


  1. That is a nice benediction. We echo it back to you.

    Those cookies would be gaggers, and that's for certain.

    1. Secondary Roads, I'm pretty much in a rut with old favorite recipes. Maybe the next generation of our family will become foodies.

  2. Resolution #4 may be the unspoken desire of most Americans. This young person had the chutzpah to put it out there. Makes her more honest than most?

    1. Sadly, I think you are right. As a whole we live in a very self-centered society.

  3. #1....What were you thinking? All that glitters is not gold. #2....I went minimal on the baked goods this year because, thanks to a wicked virus, I was too sick to care. Maybe I should bake some now.
    #3....I bet Mom did not know what a Roux was, though she likely made one every day. Also, she never served anything À la carte. Even cookies had to be accompanied with something, such as milk, ice cream or canned fruit. Sandwiches were served with soup, but seldom chips.
    #4....Not narcissistic at all. If you don't take care of yourself, you are of no good to others.
    The benediction is beautiful and expresses the true meaning of Christmas, which is often lost during the busyness of the holiday.

  4. Ilene, clearly too many points in this post! I think Mom would have laughed at the French words now used in recipes. These words make cooking seem complicated. Maybe we should promote Southern cooking terms. That's how we learned - and without cookbooks.