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Christmas Memories


m'My sister Margaret and I peeped into the living room. Sitting on the sofa watching the trains go around under the Christmas tree was our grandfather. Our name for mother’s father was “Poppy” and Poppy was visiting us from Mobile so he could hunt in the country during the holidays.

We always enjoyed being with Poppy because he told us lots of stories. But, early this morning we just wanted to know if he had seen Santa. Poppy answered that he had not. Well, we were up! No daylight yet. How could we know if our swing set that we had asked Santa for was in the yard? Santa came through on the trains though. Yippee!

Christmas memories. How great they are! Early that morning Sarah would come and make breakfast for us. Later in the day, we would have a feast of all the traditional food that my mother and father had in their families when they were growing up. A combination of traditions would happen again when I married, and so my sons will have with their families.

Today, we still have most of the same foods that we had years ago. We might have added a few things here and there. My son Rob now makes a “beer butt turkey” on his grill and son Ed has expanded his culinary views since he travels all over the world these days and eats things that I wouldn’t. Good for him, though.

One item that has stayed on our menu is mother’s ambrosia. Said to be “food for the gods” it has been served at our Christmas table for as long as I can remember. And, my mother said that it has been served at her mother’s table as long as she could remember. My mother won’t be with us this year, but we will make ambrosia and it will continue to grace our Southern table as long as a coconut and an orange are growing on this earth.  Happy Holidays to you and your family. I hope that you can all be together this year.

---Chef Linda Weiss, posted December 2009---

Mother’s Ambrosia

Mother mixed freshly grated coconut and orange sections together; about 1 part coconut to 2 parts oranges. If the oranges were not sweet, she would add a little sugar. She never added anything else except red maraschino cherries to brighten it. Mother served the ambrosia in a very large crystal bowl. She put the cherries with long stems on top. It was always elegant and beautiful. (For instructions on peeling oranges, check recipe a couple of weeks ago on Oranges with Proseco)

Tis the season for citrus and a great Christmas morning addition to breakfast is broiled grapefruit. It’s easy and delicious.

Broiled Grapefruit with Brown Sugar

1 large grapefruit
1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Cut the grapefruit in half. Using a sharp knife or grapefruit knife cut the outline of the sections but don’t remove them. Sprinkle each grapefruit half with brown sugar using 1/2 tablespoon sugar for each half. Place the grapefruit on a foil lined baking sheet and broil the grapefruit halves until the sugar is bubbly. Remove and cool slightly. Serves 2.

A welcome change to an ordinary first course this year could be this Shrimp in Grapefruit Salad from Charleston, SC.

Shrimp In Grapefruit with Sauce

1+1/2 pounds shrimp, cooked, deveined and cut in half
4 large grapefruit
1 cup of your favorite Thousand Island dressing
2 Tablespoons horseradish
2 Tablespoons good mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Cut the grapefruits in half. Cut out the center of the grapefruit, and cut around each section with a grapefruit knife to loosen it. Spoon the shrimp into the center of the grapefruit halves. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over the shrimp. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Serves 8.

First published in 2007 in Memories From Home, Cooking with Family & Friends
Visit Chef Linda at her website:
and her blog:
Linda’s first book, Memories From Home, Cooking with Family & Friends
is available at or at her website.

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