Lady Di, commented that I hadn't written a story for my readers in a while. I'm not sure how long it's been, but a long time. It's been a crazy year here.
It is almost mid-November and this was the time that Grandma begin to prepare for Christmas. She would go into town and shop for all the ingredients for her fruit cake. She would bring them home, flour the fruit and begin making the cakes early in the morning.
Grandma made a three-tiered Christmas fruit cake. She had square cake pans with drop out bottoms that made them easy to remove from the pan.
Flour, sugar, molasses, raisins and fruit all went into Grandma's cakes. She would let us kids stir until the batter was so thick that our arms ached from stirring. Once the cake batter was complete, she would use a large spoon to ladle the batter into the pans. Just before this point, she would add extra wood to the old wood stove to ensure that the oven would be just the right temperature. Once the oven was the perfect heat and the batter was in the pans, she would slip them into the oven.
After about 40 minutes, Grandma's kitchen would fill with the most wonderful aroma. After a couple hours of baking, Grandma would insert a straw from a new broom into the cakes to be sure they were fully baked. She would take them out of the oven, using her apron as a hot pad, and place them on a cooling rack. Once the cakes had cooled she would wrap them in wax paper and put them into a five gallon metal lard pail and slip on the lid. The reason she used the metal lard pail was to keep them moist. The tin also safeguarded against rodents or insects.
A few days before Christmas, Grandma would take the cakes out of the pail and stack them on her glass cake server. Three tiers for each cake. Then she would prepare almond icing and dress them up pretty with her artistic touch. Scrolls, angels or flowers adorned the cake each year. She then set a Log Cabin chocolate on the corners of each tier. The cake was then set on the table on Christmas morning for everyone to enjoy.
Grandma baked goodies the week before Christmas. Shortbread, oatmeal and date, peanut butter and chocolate chunk cookies were all served in the week between Christmas and New Years and of course the Christmas dessert table groaned under the weight of all the good things to eat. There would be pumpkin, raisin, cherry, apple and a broad spectrum of different flavored pies to choose from.
Christmas at Grandma's was always a busy time. She had a large family to feed and no one could ever say they left the table hungry, no matter what time of year, but at Christmas, Grandma outdid herself, making sure that everyone enjoyed their favorite foods.
I would love to hear your memories of the preparations for Christmas dinner. Please share in the comment section.