Recipes and Stories

24 December 2017: Drinking Custard

December 24, 2017

Tags: Christmas, Christmas Cookery, Classical Southern Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Classic American Cooking, Custard, Drinking Custard, Holiday Cookery

Drinking Custard
Every year when the winter holidays roll around, I begin to crave that old-fashioned Southern holiday treat, drinking custard. Eggnog, at least, the real thing laced with bourbon or brandy, wasn’t something we had in a Baptist pastorium. But drinking custard was another thing. We could enjoy it not only at Christmas, but throughout the cold season.

If you’ve not encountered it, drinking custard is the same thing as custard sauce, only made with fewer egg yolks or whole eggs so that it’s thin enough to sip from a cup the way you’d do eggnog. For many Southern families, it was and still is a long standing holiday tradition and is actually the base that is often used for eggnog, especially if it contains no alcohol.

Mama used to tell stories of the days when my father was in seminary in Louisville and pastored a small country church (more…)

14 December 2016: Mince Pies

December 14, 2016

Tags: Mincemeat, Mince-Pies, Christmas Cookery, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Classic English Cookery, Eliza Acton

Individual Mince-pies, here cooked with a puff pastry topper instead of the usual full top crust.
A while back I was asked to—or perhaps more accurately, was cajoled into—planning and cooking a supper for a Dickensian Christmas ball earlier this month. The menu was to be drawn from Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, published in 1843. As we started to plan, the first heady morsel from the text to tease our imaginations, and the first name to pass our lips was “mince-pies.” Mentioned at least twice, these pastries were, back then, the very essence of Christmas and to this day remain an iconic symbol of holiday feasting.

There would, therefore, be mince-pies on the dessert board. (more…)