Christmas Dinner Tradition

Posted December 19th, 2011 in Holiday, Posts

Almost every year of my life I have traveled to Southern California to my parent’s home for Christmas. That we celebrate with my parents and my sister’s family is the tradition. What we eat and when we have the big meal has changed over the years depending on who else is there and where else somebody has to go.  For most of my life my mother has cooked numerous meals over the course of the days surrounding the holiday.  When I picture my mother, I always picture her standing in the kitchen preparing food for hours, just like her mother before her. She is a GREAT cook!  But she turned 85 this year and it is hard for her to stand for hours like she used to. So the last few years my sister and I have taken some of the meals on.  So we don’t really have a traditional meal anymore except of course the breakfast casserole my sister makes for Christmas morning.

Dinner has been a variety of things-my niece and brother made a mushroom stuffed chicken breast one year and we have done pork roast several different ways. Once we even had a selection of appetizers each made by one of the girls.

It is challenging to cook a big dinner in someone else’s kitchen, even your mom’s. The oven is fancier than mine, and I don’t always know where she keeps various kitchen appliances and tools. But we make it work and the collaborative effort has become something of a tradition as well. My daughter, Kaitlin usually helps me plan the menu and serves as sous chef.  Mom runs around getting us this and that.  I don’t think it is very relaxing for her but she doesn’t complain. I think she likes spending time with us but it is hard for her to take a supporting role in the kitchen.

This year we decided on a Pork Roast with Raspberry Mustard Glaze, a Carrot Gratin, green beans almandine and a lovely winter fruit salad with arugula, grapefruit, Asian pears and pomegranate seeds. It is labor intensive because it should be individually plated but it looks beautiful and, after all, it’s Christmas!  For dessert I plan to raid her Meyer Lemon tree for a Meyer Lemon Cake. If you have followed this blog you know I am all about a colorful plate and I think we hit the mark.

We will be missing some family around the table this year but we will appreciate the ones we have and send our love to the others because love is what Christmas is really all about.




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  1. Can dark sweet cherries be substituted for bings? I’ve always bought Oregons pitted bings but can’ find them this year. Hmmm…are dark sweet and bing the same? Your help with this matter will be greatly appreciated. Kathy

    • Hi Kathy,

      Dark Sweets and Bings are essentially same. For years we canned strictly bings (one variety of dark sweet cherries) but over the years other varieties have emerged that are actually better for canning so we simply changed the name to give us more flexibility. I think you will be quite satisfied with the current product you find on the shelf.

      Thanks! The Queen

  2. I’m the mom and I was so thrilled to turn over my kitchen to my daughters especially the Queen of Tarts who performs miracles in the kitchen. Her use of Oregon Fruit products is legendary.Her daughters and her sister and her daughter made Christmas so special and I did not mind sitting and watching all this wonderful action in my kitchen. The food was extra-ordinary and the granddaughters so very helpful. Being 85 is not so bad when you get this kind of cooperation in the kitchen.
    Yassou to the new chief of Oregon Fruit and Happy New Year to all.

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