Family Traditions Old and New

Posted December 15th, 2012 in Holiday, Posts

Last week I wrote about a family traditional Cherry Coke Jell-O dessert.  I heard that post provided an adorable second grader with some show and tell for her school assignment which pleased me very much.  (After all, it was about her own family tradition!)  I asked you all to share your traditions with me but since I had no takers I’m going to share some of mine with you.

Every Christmas my girls and I travel to sunny Southern California to spend the holiday with my parents and my sister’s family.  My brother moved to the Northwest many years ago and we have only spent the holidays together a handful of years.  But this year we have Stella.  Stella is the first great grandchild for my parents and her parents and grandparents decided to share her with us this Christmas. We get the rest of them as a bonus.

We are combining a lot of food traditions this year and resurrecting some concepts that don’t exactly qualify as traditions but that we have enjoyed a time or two. On Christmas Eve we will have an appetizer buffet prepared by the Queen of Tarts herself along with my princesses.  My mother, the Old Queen Mother has decided to sit out the kitchen duty in favor of playing with Stella.  This is a first.  Mom is 86 years old and the busiest Queen of the kitchen you have ever seen.  She must be really happy to have that toddler around!

On Christmas Day my sister prepares the famous brunch casserole before we go to Church.  My brother and his family will be treating us to a true English Feast complete with Prime Rib, Creamed Spinach, and potatoes prepared from Stella’s daddy’s family recipe.  I am in charge of dessert.  My brother is a tiny bit concerned that we won’t have enough so I will be bringing TWO pies.

I am doing the almost famous Coconut Scented Blackberry Apple Pie that I have presented here before and a new recipe I just discovered and adapted from a Cooking Light recipe published in the summer when fresh cherries are plentiful.  As you know the tart cherry crop disaster of 2012 has caused me to think outside the “can” this year so I am making a Royal Anne Cherry Galette.  It is VERY easy, beautiful and just a tiny bit different.  I make mine with a homemade crust but you can use Pillsbury Ready Crust if you like and it will be just fine.

Royal Anne Cherries are not as easy to find as some of our other fruit but if you have a Kroger Store (or any store owned by Kroger) you can find them there.  Several independent grocers stock them and you can also find them on

A galette is a free form pie.  The filling is not a traditional slurry either, just a sprinkling of cornstarch and sugar over the crust before spooning in the cherries brightened up with a bit of lemon.  I think it is delicious and kind of sophisticated.  (Can you tell I am a little intimidated by contributing to my brother’s fancy dinner?)

I am grateful to spend the holidays with my family.  Merry Christmas from my house to yours!

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